Is a Recession Coming? Here’s What Hawai‘i’s Business Leaders Say.

Our biannual BOSS Survey finds cautious optimism about the local economy, and more businesses say they’re flourishing or on track.
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Photo: Getty Images

Twice a year, Hawaii Business Magazine asks Anthology Research to conduct two surveys of local residents: the BOSS Survey of business owners and senior executives, and the 808 Poll of the general public. Here are the results of the latest surveys.

We start with a provocative question and get a gloomy response: Do you believe Hawai‘i will suffer a recession in the coming year? Most people said yes.

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Among the general public:

  • Women (72%) were more likely to believe a recession is coming than men (57%).
  • Those without college degrees (71%) were more likely to believe a recession is coming than college graduates (60%).
  • Among the major ethnic groups, Native Hawaiians (79%) were statistically the most likely to believe a recession is coming. Only 57% of Caucasians and Japanese felt the same.


Boss Optimism Index
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The BOSS Optimism Index is based on what business leaders think will happen to the local economy in the coming year. In the latest survey:

  • 21% felt the local economy would get better.
  • 39% believed it would stay the same.
  • 37% feared it would worsen.

A few others did not provide a response. Those results were essentially the same as in the fall 2022 BOSS Survey.

Additionally, business leaders were given three possible responses to a question about their companies’ spending plans in the coming year.

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A few others did not provide a response. As with the previous question, the answers were very close to the fall 2022 survey.


Continued Gains in Revenue, Profit and Staffing

The BOSS Performance Index measures changes in revenue, profit before taxes and employment among the surveyed companies. The index continues to move up, though the pace slowed in the latest survey.

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Did this important metric go up, down or stay the same compared to a year ago?

  • Revenue: 48% said revenue was up.
  • Profit before taxes: 36% said profit was up.
  • Employment: 20% said they have more employees.


Difficult to Hire the Right Person

Roughly half (48%) of the businesses polled have hired at least one employee in the past year. We asked those businesses: Which of these three options best described your hiring process?

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What’s the Condition of Your Company?

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Business representatives were asked which of the following options best describes the current condition of their companies.

  • 43% of Neighbor Island businesses were said to be flourishing; only 26% of O‘ahu business were described that way.


Read other parts of this BOSS Survey 

Part 2: How Are Hawai‘i Companies Responding to Inflation and ESG/DEI Demands?

Part 3: Hawai‘i Construction Companies Say Revenues and Profits Are Up



Categories: BOSS Survey