Since the training of enumerators that began in March, the CNMI Department of Commerce’s Central Statistics Division has been conducting the 2016 Prevailing Wage and Workforce Assessment Study and data collection from over 900 businesses.
According to Commerce Secretary Mark Rabauliman, the 2016 prevailing wage survey results will be used to help determine prevailing wages for occupations in the CNMI to be used for obtaining work visas for foreign labor hiring and assess local workforce training needs and programs, and to be used for business policy decisions by business and local government leaders.
During a recent meeting with the Central Statistics Division and the 2016 Prevailing Wage and Workforce Assessment Study staff, Rabauliman expressed his appreciation to all those involved in data collection, data coding and entry, reminding them to be diligent and steadfast in their work heading into the final steps.
“It is the most critical time of the project, and I want to extend my appreciation to the over 900 companies who have participated and completed their survey forms. Our survey team is now diligently working with those who have yet to submit their surveys and I ask for increased efforts and cooperation among the business community in completing these survey forms and submitting them as soon as possible,” Rabauliman said.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres noted that the prevailing wage study is a crucial factor in determining plans for workforce development.
“Our private sector is key to economic growth and having the latest data and statistics enable a better understanding of the future of the economy while balancing the needs of the community. I ask that we continue to collaborate to ensure results that are representative of the entire Commonwealth,” Torres said.
With CSD looking to complete the data collection phase on June 30, the Commerce Department will utilize the month of July to process and analyze the data in preparation for the report publication.
CSD is looking to finalize and publish the report between the months of July and August.
“These dates are tentative and subject to change depending on survey submissions. It is our intent with this study to update our prevailing wage report, which up until the 2011 [study], the prevailing wage rates for all occupations was not available. The 2011 [study] provided the first data on prevailing wages and was updated in 2014, but we look forward to the 2016 study to provide current data and trends,” Rabauliman said.
On Nov. 28, 2011, the federal Public Law 110-229 required that CNMI employers seeking to hire new non-U.S. eligible employees from outside the CNMI were required to pay a wage rate equal to or above the prevailing wage rate for the particular occupation the employer was seeking to fill.
Before the surveys of prevailing wages with current reliable occupation specific prevailing wage rates, CNMI employers used wage rates from other U.S. jurisdictions, a situation that will not be favorable to CNMI employers.