- ASK LLP

Learn More About The Maui Wildfires

Description of the Smoke and Ash issue and Potential economic recovery.

September 2023 – The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released its third quarter 2023 Statistical and Economic Report today. Compared with its second quarter forecast issued on June 1, DBEDT revised its economic growth projections for 2023 and 2024 downward, from 1.8 percent to 1.1 percent for 2023 and from 2.0 percent to 1.5 percent for 2024. The revisions are mainly due to the Lahaina wildfire tragedy on August 8, 2023 and related impacts.

The Maui wildfire took the lives of 115 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes. The disaster area had more than 800 business establishments with about 7,000 employees. The daily total business revenue of those establishments is estimated to be $2.7 million a day.

A total of 88 transpacific flights were canceled in August, representing 23,083 air seats. The passenger count to Kahului Airport decreased by more than 70 percent after the tragedy from 7,000 a day to 2,000 a day. The loss from business closures and visitor expenditures is estimated to be $11 million a day on Maui since August 9, 2023.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, 50 percent of the Lahaina homes were renter- occupied and the average monthly rent is estimated to be $1,700 a month. The rental income loss is about $2 million a month.

Initial unemployment claims jumped from an average of 130 cases per week before the wildfire to 865 cases in the first week after the fire, to 4,449 cases in the second week after the fire, and to 2,705 cases the third week after the fire.

Areas of concern

The closure of businesses in West Maui and the decrease in visitor arrivals – not only to Maui, but also to other islands across the state – will negatively affect the state’s economic recovery. The reconstruction of Lahaina will take years to complete.

Hawaii has lost population for several years in a row. It is reasonable to expect more people to move out of state due to business employment consolidation and relocation.

Due to high interest and mortgage rates, the number of new residential units authorized decreased by 18.8 percent during the first half of 2023 as compared with the same period a year ago. The number of existing home sales decreased by 35.3 percent during the first half of 2023.

The shortage of labor remains a challenge for Hawaii’s economy. Job vacancies remained high during the first half of 2023 with an average of 13,000 positions unfilled per month. By comparison, the average of monthly vacancies in 2019 was 7,500.

Bankruptcy filings are again an issue. After four years of consecutive declines, bankruptcy filings increased by 13.5 percent during the first seven months of 2023

Questions

1.Do you own your house/condo/business property?
2.Did you smell smoke or see ash upon returning to your property after the August 8th Maui wildfires?
3.Did your property suffer any physical damage from the wildfire besides smoke and ash?
4.If you are not represented by an attorney, answer the above questions, and send us your contact information at the link below for a free evaluation of your potential claim for damage to your property.

If you answered yes to these questions, and are not currently represented by an attorney, send us your contact information at the link below for a free evaluation of your potential claim for damage to your property.

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