Guam economic census shows ‘moderate’ growth through 2017

Guam Department of Labor chief economist Gary Hiles (PNC file photo)

The results of the 2017 economic census are in.

The census is conducted once every five years and is used to calculate the Gross Domestic Product for the island.

The data shows that Guam’s employment rate grew by nearly 13% between 2012 and 2017. The number of businesses rose by 13% and business revenue grew by 9%.

Overall, says Guam Department of Labor Chief economist Gary Hiles, Guam’s economy grew a moderate 2 percent annually over the five-year period.

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And he remains optimistic looking ahead, despite projections from Dr. Maria Ruane who expects zero growth for Guam in the year ahead.

Hiles, however, said the economic impact of the coronavirus remains unknown at this point.

“My opinion is a bit more optimistic. I believe that the economy is set up to grow because of increased building permits for outside the fence, increased construction contracts, increased airline service. So it’s set up to grow in the coming year. But the big unknown is whether it will be impacted by something like the coronavirus,” Hiles said.

Bobby Nusz, a member of the economic census survey staff, said: “The main reason that we do this is to gather the statistics that are used to calculate the gross domestic product for Guam. So the bureau of economic analysis takes this data and they use it for their annual estimates of GDP.”

In 2018, Hiles said Guam’s Real Gross Domestic Product, adjusted for inflation, was about $5.9 billion.