Guam wage 32% below national average
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Workers on Guam had an average wage of $19.10 per hour in May 2021, about 32 percent below the nationwide average of $28.01, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Regional Commissioner Chris Rosenlund noted that after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were lower than their respective national averages in 21 of the 22 major occupational groups, including management, computer and mathematical, and legal.
Guam had 58,390 employed workers during the survey period.
When compared to the nationwide distribution, Guam area employment was more highly concentrated in 9 of the 22 occupational groups, including construction and extraction, management, and educational instruction and library.
Twelve groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including production, healthcare support, and healthcare practitioners and technical.
One occupational group—construction and extraction—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories.
Guam had 5,790 jobs in construction and extraction, accounting for 9.9 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 4.2-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $17.05, significantly below the national wage of $26.87.
Some of the larger detailed occupations within the construction and extraction group included carpenters (1,080), construction laborers (1,070), and cement masons and concrete finishers (550).
Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were explosives workers, ordnance handlers and blasters and first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers, with mean hourly wages of $27.76 and $23.89, respectively.
At the lower end of the wage scale were helpers such as pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters ($11.31) and construction laborers ($12.12).
Labor officials said location quotients allow them to explore the occupational make-up of a metropolitan area by comparing the composition of jobs in an area relative to the national average.
For example, a location quotient of 2.0 indicates that an occupation accounts for twice the share of employment in the area than it does nationally.
On Guam, officials said, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the construction and extraction group. For instance, reinforcing iron and rebar workers were employed at 36.3 times the national rate in Guam, and cement masons and concrete finishers, at 7.1 times the U.S. average.
These statistics are from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey, a federal-state cooperative program between BLS and State Workforce Agencies, in this case, the Guam Department of Labor.
The last minimum wage raise on Guam was implemented on Sept. 1, based on Public Law 36-1, which increased the hourly rate from $8.75 an hour to $9.25 an hour.
Meanwhile, the Guam Department of Labor (GDOL) formalized its partnership with Mane’lu by providing training to Mañe’lu’s staff on GDOL’s Workforce Development Overview, which includes the Wage and Hour, Fair Employment Practices, and Workers Compensation Commission Divisions.
The partnership began two years ago when Mañe’lu offered services to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) clients who needed help with interpretation, translation, submitting paperwork and other types of assistance.
GDOL and Mane’lu continue to bridge the gap in employment-related services through the Micronesian Resource Center One Stop Shop (MRCOSS).
“With more training about our different divisions, Mañe’lu now has more knowledge about Labor laws and can better assist our mutual clients. We look forward to this continued partnership as we provide services in workforce development," said acting Labor Director Jerry Toves.
“We are honored to be partnering with GDOL to improve access to both organizations’ programs that will assist individuals gain training and employment. Mañe’lu and MRCOSS have become an essential resource and space to help our brothers and sisters from the outer islands become settled here in Guam through workshops and case management that is provided in the four primary languages of the Federated States of Micronesia," he added.
Mañe’lu Executive Director Samantha Taitano said the formal partnership means a more direct connection in assisting those looking for employment and providing support to clients who come into GDOL needing language-specific assistance.
"Acting Director Jerry Toves and I have been talking about formalizing our existing partnership for two years now, and to finally see everything come to fruition has been exciting,” Taitano said.