The Bureau of Economic Analysis released Tuesday estimates of gross domestic product for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands for 2010 and revised estimates for 2002 to 2009. In this release, BEA-for the first time-also includes estimates of GDP by industry, compensation by industry, and detailed consumer spending.
These estimates were developed under the Statistical Improvement Program funded by the Office of Insular Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Gross Domestic Product for 2010
After declining for six consecutive years, largely due to declines in the garment manufacturing industry, the CNMI's economy grew in 2010. The estimates for the CNMI show that real GDP-GDP adjusted to remove price changes-increased 2.3 percent. For comparison, real GDP for the U.S. (excluding the territories) increased 2.4 percent in 2010. In addition, per capita real GDP for the CNMI increased in 2010, reflecting the growth in real GDP and a continued decline in the population.
The growth of the economy in 2010 largely reflected increases in territorial government spending, in consumer spending, and in exports of goods and services.
Economic growth was tempered by an increase in imports. Exports increased for the first time after five consecutive years of decline. Tourism services (which make up the majority of exports of services) increased due to an increase in the number of visitors to the islands, offsetting continued declines in exports of goods.
More detailed estimates of consumer spending are being released for the first time and show that, in 2010, spending on both goods and services contributed to the increase in overall consumer spending for the year. Net foreign travel, calculated as spending by CNMI residents abroad less spending by nonresidents in the CNMI, contributed negatively to growth in consumer spending as spending by visitors to the CNMI outpaced that of CNMI residents traveling abroad.
Gross Domestic Product by industry and compensation by industry
The new estimates of gross domestic product by industry (GDP by industry) provide additional information on economic growth and complement the aggregate GDP estimates that have been published since 2010.
While the GDP estimates show how much the entire economy has grown (or contracted), the GDP by industry estimates show how major industries have contributed to that growth.
For the CNMI, the GDP by industry estimates show that the distributive services sector (including retail and wholesale trade) and the territorial government were the largest contributors to overall GDP growth in 2010
Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector continued to contribute negatively to economic growth. The significant declines in manufacturing from 2005 to 2009 reflected the decline of the garment manufacturing industry.
The compensation by industry estimates show trends in compensation for major industries. Total compensation grew in 2010, reflecting increases in both private and government compensation. However, compensation for the manufacturing sector continued to decline, falling each year from 2005 to 2010.
Estimates of GDP for 2002 to 2009 that were released on July 13, 2011 have been revised in order to incorporate improvements to source data and estimation methodologies. Major improvements are:
- Improved methodologies for estimating consumer spending on goods and services;
- The incorporation of newly available data from the U.S. Census Bureau, including:
- Population and housing information from the 2010 Census of Population and Housing, and
- Wage and salary data for 2008, 2009, and 2010 from County Business Patterns;
- The incorporation of newly available source data for territorial government spending from government financial statements for fiscal year 2010.
The pattern of growth in the revised estimates is similar to that of the previously published estimates. In both the revised and the published estimates, real GDP decreased in all years except 2003.
Moving forward, an agreement between OIA and BEA will extend and improve the estimates of GDP for the CNMI. The information provided by the CNMI government will continue to be critical to the successful production of these estimates.
BEA currently plans to release estimates for 2011 in the spring of 2013. (BEA)