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March 29, 2019
Projected 2019 Economic Growth for
the U.S. Pacific Islands
Source: Pacific Daily News


The Government of Guam is in better fiscal shape in 2019 and is up for modest growth of 1 to 2 percent in fiscal 2020, according to Guam’s Department of Labor chief economist Gary Hiles.

The island’s tourism industry is on track to be a “record” year with total projected arrivals of 1.675 million, according to Guam Visitors Bureau’s research and statistics director Nico Fujikawa. See Full Story.

Emphasizing that change will occur under her Administration, Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero said financial stability will be her first priority “Because without stability in our finances we cannot provide the public services that our people so much deserve.” See Full Story.

Source: Talanei News

American Samoa

Real GDP is forecast to drop 3.5% in 2019 according to the American Samoa Department of Commerce which released its 2019 American Samoa Economic Forecast. While real GDP increased by an estimated 2.8% in 2018, Tropical Storm Gita caused as much as $186 million in direct and indirect damages across the territory early last year. The report offers an unprecedented look into economic trends in the territory, which is particularly useful to businesses, policymakers, and other individuals that may rely on local economic data. See Full Story.

Source: Marianas Variety

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

The CNMI’s Acting Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig earlier this month updated the CNMI House Ways and Means Committee on the $12 million budget cut for Fiscal Year 2019, which takes effect April 1st, by acknowledging that the government’s “state of cash flow is scary, as we are really low on cash.” First quarter revenue for FY 2019 was $45.4 million which is 4.7 percent less than the projection. In the second quarter, the government collected $20 million or about 20 percent of the projection according to the Secretary. See Full Story.

CNMI Governor Ralph Torres is optimistic about the CNMI’s economic recovery. “The second quarter of the current fiscal year is taking on a brighter sheen for the CNMI economy,” said the governor, signaling that the Commonwealth is getting back on track after being sideswiped by the ferocious winds of Super Typhoon Yutu in October last year.

That’s making the Torres administration confident that CNMI revenues would pick up in the coming months. He pointed out that the CNMI’s economic activity relies on the tourism industry, and the recent inaugural flight of Japan’s Skymark Airlines gives a strong boost to efforts to revive the economy. The governor also stated that the expected reimbursements of an estimated $210 million from FEMA for disaster recovery should help the CNMI’s current situation, but that it will be a long process to get back the money already spent by the CNMI. See Full Story.

Source: Star Advertiser


In Hawaii, the forecasted growth for 2019 is at 1.2 percent, and at about 1.4 percent for 2020 to 2022. Hawaii’s economic growth rates will be lower than the nation in the next few years. This according to the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) which released its first quarter 2019 Statistical and Economic Report on March 6, 2019. The Department estimated that the final Hawaii economic growth rate for 2018 should be at 1 percent.

“We expect our tourism, construction, and healthcare industries continuing to perform well this year. These industries have been the driving force for Hawaii’s economy in the current business cycle.” said Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism Director Mike McCartney. “As an indication of tourism supply, the scheduled air seats to Hawaii will increase 2 percent in 2019, without counting the seats from Southwest which will start flying to Hawaii on March 17 this year. Total value of private building permits increased by 4.5 percent and government contracts awarded increased 63.5 percent as of the end of 2018, indicating a busier construction year for 2019.”

Territorial Priorities before U.S. Senate Hearing

Source: Governor of Guam's Office

As a follow up to the February 26, 2019, hearing by the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on the State of the U.S. Territories, here are the highlights by the Governors of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

Guam Priorities – Governor Lou Leon Guerrero (Full Testimony)
  • H-2B Visas
  • Compacts of Free Association
  • Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Medicaid
  • Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act
CNMI Priorities – Governor Ralph DLG Torres (Full Testimony)
  • Federal Recognition of Unique Challenges in the Territories
  • Super Typhoon Yutu Recovery, especially for homes
  • Workforce Development and Immigration (CW-1 and H-2B Visa)
  • Inflexible Application of Federal Immigration Law
  • Medicaid
  • Eligibility for all Federal Labor Laws (i.e. Wagnor-Peysor)
  • Infrastructure Development
  • Veterans
  • Federal Partnership in Economic Growth
American Samoa Priorities – Governor Lolo Moliga (Full Testimony)
  • Cyclone Gita Disaster Relief
  • American Samoa Operations Grants/Construction Program
  • Health Care/Medicare/Medicaid
  • LBJ Acute Care Hospital
  • Minimum Wage
  • 30(A) Tax Credit Permanent Extension
  • Territorial Educational Improvements
  • Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic
  • Territorial Infrastructure Needs
  • Need for Coast Guard Vessel for Border Protection
  • Progress on Energy Self-Sufficiency
  • Cabotage Policy

About PBDC

The Pacific Basin Development Council, established in 1980 by the governors of Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and Hawaii, is a regional non-profit organization that advances economic and social development in the Pacific Islands. The organization, which is based in Hawaii, is located at the East-West Center.

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