Emerging Industries Research

Emerging Industries For years, the State and counties have sought to balance their economic reliance on a few large economic activities like tourism, defense jobs, and plantation agriculture (sugar and pineapple), by providing support for the growth and development of numerous smaller economic activities and industries. In the 1970’s garment manufacturing, film, and diversified agriculture were seen as potential growth industries, among others. More recently, development interest has focused on biotechnology, digital media and creative industries.

These activities have been variously referred to as emerging, growth or targeted industries. They have been pursued because they were thought to have potential as significant, long-run contributors to economic growth and skilled jobs. While a few of these activities have been measured and their performance tracked over the years, there has not been a consistent effort to define, measure and assess their performance.

This effort to identify, define and measure these activities will form the basis for more detailed analysis in future research reports. Those reports will seek to better understand the Hawaiʻi’s portfolio of targeted industries, the reasons behind their performance, their workforce and other input needs, and how their performance and economic contribution to the state might be improved.

These reports benefit from recent efforts to better understand Hawaiʻi’s economic strengths and weaknesses. In particular, the work of the Hawaiʻi Institute for Public Affairs (HIPA), Enterprise Honolulu and more recently, the Hawaiʻi Science and Technology Council, have set important strategic and methodological directions for this research.

Emerging industry research is one facet of a broader effort to study Hawaiʻi’s emerging economy and its needs, spurred by Act 148 (SLH 2007). In addition to the study below, this line of research has produced the Hawaiʻi Innovation Indicators, Hawaiʻi’s Self-Sufficiency Income Standard, Updated Survey of Ocean Science and Technology, and the Hawaiʻi Quality of Life Study.