The CNMI gross domestic product in 1998 was between $854,812,000-$1,0007,131,000, according to a study made by the International Programs Center.
On a per capita basis, this means the island’s income was very high producing $13,406-$15,794 worth of goods and services for each of its 63,765 residents.
IPC was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Interior to measure and evaluate baseline economic conditions in the Northern Marianas. Due to budgetary and time constraints, IPC only made use of the 1997 Economic Census and the 1998 Survey of Household Income and Expenditures.
Unfortunately, the study failed to determine the living standards of CNMI born residents who are U.S. citizens as well as non-resident workers. “Aside from the imprecision of our measurements, we do not know what disposable personal income is or how equally it is distributed,” the study said.
In a related development, the U.S. Department of Commerce Census Bureau reported that the number of manufacturing employees doubled from 6,300 to 13,700 between 1992 and 1997 while annual manufacturing payroll tripled from $49 million to $147 million.
Manufacturing shipments jumped from $264 million to more than $762 million.
The Census Bureau conducted the study through mail survey, the first time such method was used to canvass businesses in the Northern Marianas as previous information was collected using personal visits.
Other highlights of the 1997 Economic Census on the CNMI include:
•The production of apparel and other textiles led the manufacturing industry, with 39 establishments and more than 12,000 employees.
•In all, the Northern Marianas had 1,232 businesses engaged in construction, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and service industries.
•Retail establishments employed nearly 5,000 people, with an annual payroll of $54 million and $570 million in sales.
•Service industries employed more than 7,000 people, with an annual payroll of $91 million and $440 million in sales and receipts.
•Hotels and motels were the leading employers in the service sector, with 33 establishments and 2,900 workers.