GDOL: Increase in GovGuam jobs only temporary and mostly COVID-related

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Guam Department of Labor Director David Dell'Isola (PNC photo)

The Guam Department of Labor released unemployment numbers for the past year. Although the private sector and federal government lost jobs, GovGuam gained jobs.

However, Guam Department of Labor director David Dell’Isola told Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo Wednesday morning that the increase in jobs is mostly due to temporary workers.

He said the temporary workers were hired to staff GovGuam’s response to the pandemic, with the majority of them taken on by Guam Public Health.

GDOL also benefited as it required extra manpower to run the various unemployment programs implemented by the federal government.

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“My department has grown by 40 people, and most of that was all temporary hires. The same with Public Health and the same with the hospital as we work this pandemic…we couldn’t use the existing base. As the media is always saying, Dave, you need to get more people to answer the phones. You need to do this…those are temporary GovGuam hires,” Dell’Isola said.

According to Dell’Isola, the temporary hires ran the gamut — from entry-level positions to skilled professionals such as nurses.

Contact tracers were also part of the increase.

Dell’Isola said that many temporary workers were private-sector employees displaced by the pandemic.

As Guam’s economy begins to reopen thanks in large part to their efforts, Dell’Isola said that he hopes they’ll be able to find new jobs as the island recovers.

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“It’s because of that talent base that was unemployed that we were able to get this program up and running seamlessly, and so quickly, and I want to thank them. Because they could’ve stayed home and collected PUA. But instead, they elected to help our island recover. And same with Public Health, and all the other programs that the governor is running, to keep us in the numbers, and the safe environment that we are enjoying right now,” Dell’Isola said.

Dell’Isola said that he expects Guam’s private sector to experience the biggest impact in employment when visitors start returning to the island.

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