The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs poured a total of $710 million in federal grants and payments into U.S. territories and freely associated states, creating an economic impact of $888 million on insular gross domestic product in 2018 and supporting 26,652 jobs, according to OIA’s report released Tuesday.
Across the insular areas, the impact on government employment ranged from three to 17 percent in the territories and close to 45 percent in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the report said.
“The U.S. Interior is proud of the role that we play in supporting fellow Americans in the territories and our friends in the freely associated states,” said Secretary David Bernhardt.“ I am pleased to see that the assistance provided through Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs has a notable, positive impact on people’s lives and well-being in these island areas.”
Assistant Secretary Doug Domenech said funds provided by Congress through OIA support a variety of critical areas, including health care, education, government operations, natural resources, and infrastructure.
“This report illustrates the significant impact that our federal dollars have on insular economies, however, the gross domestic product per capita in the insular areas, ranging from $3,000 to $36,000, are still significantly low and emphasize ongoing needs and challenges in these areas,” Domenech said.
Overall, the analysis provides key insight into the impact of OIA grant payments and funding transfers on employment, employee compensation, and gross domestic product in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau.