Overall, real estate is one of the largest sectors of the economy in Hawaii, accounting for 19.9% of economic activity and 11.3% of jobs in the state.
The costs imposed by the Jones Act are particularly problematic for this sector of the economy, because it is a major user of noncontainerized cargo such as sand, cement, gypsum, steel and even bricks. Due to the severe limitation of Jones Act vessels that can carry this type of cargo, prices are especially high in Hawaii, and almost all supply must come from foreign countries, many of which are subject to tariffs.
Higher costs lead to fewer jobs as consumers and businesses purchase fewer services or less property. In this case, it is estimated that the Jones Act currently adds between $54.4 million and $255.9 million annually to the cost of real estate and construction services in Hawaii. This leads to the loss of between 228 and 785 jobs in these sectors of the Hawaii economy.
This data was the result of the groundbreaking independent new study produced by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, “Quantifying the cost of the Jones Act to Hawaii.”