Pacific Business News does little flash polls to take the pulse of commerce in Hawaii.
In fact, these little surveys are called "Business Pulse" and the results are simply displayed after business people that subscribe cast a vote. No comments, no analysis - just the results. One can't see the results, either, until one's vote is cast.
The most recent "Business Pulse" we saw had the following question:
"How are you doing financially compared to four years ago?"
At 3:30 p.m. this past Tuesday, the results of that poll were:
* Much better - 16 percent.
* A little better - 21 percent.
* About the same - 17 percent.
* A little worse - 20 percent.
* Much worse - 25 percent.
Hmmm . . . these are troubling numbers, if accurate. Certainly, the visitor industry has rebounded strongly in the past two years. In fact, at times that industry has posted record numbers in recent months.
So what does it tell us about the health of our economy when 45 percent of the respondents in the flash poll say they are doing worse or much worse than four years ago? Are businesses other than those in the visitor industry stagnating?
Recent updates from state economists have described the uneven recovery that has occurred in Hawaii, but this little "Business Pulse" poll is shocking. Yes, we know that such Internet polls are not scientific, but if there is any accuracy in this one at all, it means the recovery has not started yet for quite a few businesses.
Leroy Laney recently gave a presentation here on behalf of First Hawaiian Bank that said residential construction and retail sales were lagging. Coupling those comments with this little business survey has to make one wonder - when is the recovery going to spread from the visitor industry to the rest of our economy?
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.