Report: $17.3M OIA monies supported 3% of NMI workforce

Posted on Jul 24 2019


In a report highlighting the economic impact of U.S. Department of the Interior grants and payments provided to U.S. territories and the freely associated states, the U.S. Office of Insular Affairs said that their monies were able to support 791 employees and over $17 million in employee compensation.

The report, titled “Economic Impacts Attributable to FY 2018 Federal Grants and Payments to Seven Insular Areas,” noted that the CNMI received about $17.33 million from the OIA in fiscal year 2018.

This amount, according to the report, also included Compact of Free Association payments amounting to $2.3 million.

The report further noted that OIA payments in the CNMI were estimated to have directly supported 664 jobs and $15.3 million in employee compensation.

Including jobs that were indirectly supported by federal monies, the report noted that the OIA was able to support a total of 791 employees, over $17 million in employee compensation, and $16.6 million in Gross Domestic Product. The 791 employees represent 3% of the CNMI’s total employment.

“…Over $17 million of employee compensation associated with these employees accounts for approximately 3 percent of total employee compensation inside the region, and the $16.6 million of GDP associated with these employees represents 1% of total GDP produced by the region,” the report stated.

According to the report, the OIA payments to the CNMI during fiscal year 2018 were primarily directed to the construction and government sectors, with additional support for education, wholesale trade, and the private sector.

In a separate statement, Interior said the report provides an analysis of the economic impact of grants and payments provided to the territories and freely associated states.

Grants and payments from OIA totaling $710 million are estimated to have created an economic impact of $888 million on insular Gross Domestic Product in 2018, supporting 26,652 jobs. Across the insular areas, the impact on government employment ranged from three to 17% in the territories and close to 45% in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Overall, the analysis provides key insight into the impact of OIA grant payments and funding transfers on employment, employee compensation, and gross domestic product in American Samoa, Guam, the CNMI, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau.

The final economic analysis of 2018 funding was prepared for the Department of the Interior by RTI International.

For those interested in looking at the numbers for Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, and the District of Columbia and Hawaii, head to the OIA website at or for a direct link,

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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