Defense projects, tourism rebound drive Guam's unemployment rates down
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Guamanians are returning to work, the Guam Department of Labor said in a report showing a decline in the island's unemployment rate.
“Employment numbers have continued to rise due to an accelerating recovery in tourism and increased construction activity in civilian housing, commercial, road and infrastructure projects," GDOL Chief Economist Gary Hiles said.
He noted that the Department of Defense's Camp Blaz construction work has ramped up and will continue to expand in the near future. “We expect to continue to see this downward trend in unemployment as our economy recovers," Hiles added.
The latest employment report showed that the unemployment rate for Guam fell to 5.1 percent in March, the lowest it has been since pre-pandemic levels.
This figure represents a drop of 2.1 percentage points from December 2021, when the unemployment rate was 7.2 percent.
The total payroll employment rose by 2,210 year-over-year, from 60,070 employees on payroll in March 2021 compared to 62,280 in March 2022.
Hiles said data gathering for the current period is also strong, and the positive trend is expected to continue.
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said attributed the drop in unemployment to "maximum government assistance" extended to residents and businesses.
"Many of these programs helped bridge the gap for those in our communities who suffered economically during the pandemic, while others were tailored to pave the way to recovery by fortifying our businesses and enabling our workers to recover their jobs or find new employment,” the governor said.
“This consistent downward trend in unemployment is welcome news, and it signals more good news to come for Guam’s economy," she added.
Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio said the government continues to focus on rebuilding and diversifying Guam's economy.
"Tourists continue to flock back to our island, and gas prices are receding. With record military, federal, and private projects launching, we are confident that our workforce will come back stronger than ever," he said.
Unemployment peaked in December 2020 at 19.4 percent in Guam, mirroring the rise in overall U.S. unemployment due to the Covid pandemic.
Guam’s unemployment gradually decreased every quarter to 16.5 percent in March 2021, 11.4 percent in June 2021, 8.1 percent in September 2021, 7.2 percent in December 2021, and 5.1 percent in March 2022.