Economy grew 28.6 pct. in 2016

Increase is largest in history by any US territory

The CNMI’s real gross domestic product grew by 28.6 percent in 2016 after increasing 3.8 percent in 2015, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis, which presented its report yesterday at the Governor’s Office.

“For comparison, real GDP for the U.S. (excluding the territories) increased 1.5 percent in 2016. Guam increased by 0.4 percent, while American Samoa decreased by 2.5 percent,” according to the BEA. BEA also noted that this is the largest increase of GDP by any U.S. territory since the agency started calculating GDP estimates for the territories in 2002.

Acting governor Victor B. Hocog expressed that he and Gov. Ralph DLG Torres are very pleased with the latest estimates. Torres is currently in Washington, D.C. for a series of meetings.

“Governor Torres and I are very happy about the substantial growth in our GDP. This is not only an indicator of the effect of our gaming industry, but it is also a very significant indicator of our overall economic prosperity since we assumed office. It is important that we remain cognizant of the many problems we still face, while continuing to work together as a community to address them. Today is a good day for the Commonwealth,” Hocog said.

In a statement, Torres said before 2016, the economy had already been experiencing four consecutive years of economic growth since 2012.

“To go from where we were in 2009, when we saw the lowest GDP for the CNMI at -17.5 percent decrease to where we are now, in which we see a 28.6 percent increase in 2016, is truly a testament to a collective effort between the private sector, our government, and really our entire community. 2009 wasn’t too long ago, and I know we all remember those days. Our tourism industry was struggling, large and small businesses were struggling, but more importantly, many of our friends and families were struggling to make ends meet. But now we see an economy that has provided more opportunities for everyone. If we continue to work together, our Commonwealth will achieve even greater success,” Torres added.

Commerce Secretary Mark O. Rabauliman called the significant growth of the CNMI economy “promising.”

“This latest report from the BEA is a significant indicator of the success of this administration’s economic policies. Sustaining this economic upswing takes all of us as a community to work together. I want to thank the governor and the lieutenant governor for their continued support and all the agencies that provided the data for the GDP report. I also want to thank our folks here in the Department of Commerce for what they do every day,” Rabauliman said.

The report released today reflected widespread increases among the various factors of GDP. The largest contributor to the CNMI’s economic growth in 2016 was the exports of services, which grew by 72.8 percent, compared to a 14.9 percent increase in 2015. This can be translated to the growth in visitor spending through the tourism and gaming industries. Visitor arrivals grew over 10 percent, reflecting an increase in arrivals from South Korea and China.

Private fixed investment increased by 65.8 percent. Consumer spending increased by 3.0 percent reflecting the widespread growth in household purchases of goods and services.

For more information, please refer to the Bureau of Economic Analysis at: https://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/general/terr/2017/CNMIGDP_101517.pdf.

For any questions of inquiries, contact the Department of Commerce’s Central Statistics Division at 664-3000/3077/3045 and email at director.csd@commerce.gov.mp. (PR)

Press Release
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