The economy is stable but the cost of living is going up and tens of thousands of working-age adults on Guam are out of the workforce.
That was some of what the experts said about Guam’s economy Friday during the Bank of Guam’s Fall Economic Forum held at the Dusit Thani report.
Out of a total island population of about 160,000, 50,000 people on Guam aged 16 and above are not in the workforce.
David Dell’Isola, the director of the Guam Department of Labor, said: “Some of that is because some of them are attending school. Some of them are at home taking care of kids, some don’t want to work. Some are in retirement.”
Dell’Isolla said his department is looking at helping at least some of those now out of the workforce to get back in through training
“What we need to do is look at enticing them. And what I will get into later is offering better jobs and better pay. And in order to do that they need to be trained,” Dell’Isola said.
And while many working-age adults sit on the sidelines, Guam Economic Development Authority Administrator Melanie Mendiola pointed out that the cost of living continues to rise.
“The collective basket of goods and service from 2007 to 2019 went up 31 percent,” Mendiola said.
Among the rising costs is that of water which rose 55 percent over the past 12 years. Food prices have surged 41 percent.
“What tends to happen when you have lower purchasing power, you buy cheaper food. What kind of food is cheaper food, unhealthy food. What does unhealthy food lead to? It leads to higher health care costs. That is the highest thing in the CPI, in the last 10 years … in the last five years … that is the largest concentration in the basket of goods, health care costs which have gone up 70 or so percent.”