GUAM IS GROWING: Hourly pay jumps up, jobs increase again, development on the rise
“Guam is growing. I’m most pleased with employers who are paying their employees more. The jump in hourly pay is very promising. This report makes another point very clear: we need to get more Guamanians to GCC to learn a construction trade and take these high-paying construction jobs. We’ll keep pushing this point through our campaigns with GCC, the mayors, and our office.” — Governor Eddie Baza Calvo
Guam workers earning more                                                               
On average, Guam’s workers are taking home more than they were last year. That’s because average hourly pay in the private sector went up from $12.87 an hour (Mar. 2013) to $13.40 this March. Employees are also working longer hours. Combined, these factors brought up weekly earnings from an average $468.38 to $494.27.
These averages don’t include earnings from supervisors and other positions of management and ownership. It comes from the latest Current Employment Report. The report covers the March 2014 survey period. Click here to read the latest Current Employment Report.
Private sector grows; GovGuam shrinks                                              
The report shows total employment (both public and private sector) went up about 500 jobs from last year to this March. GovGuam employment again went down, while the private sector again added jobs.
Development on the rise; construction posts 1,080 new jobs                         
The biggest jump was in construction, which gained 1,080 jobs in the latest annual comparison. It’s unclear what section within construction is requiring more workers, but according to Gary Hiles, Chief Economist at the Department of Labor, about half of the construction projects are military related. Government of Guam is credited with a big share of increased construction activity, and then commercial and residential projects, he said.
H2 population still high                                                                                
What’s not good for Guam residents is that there remains a large number of jobs taken by H2 workers. Currently, there are 1,202 H2 construction workers on Guam.
According to Greg Massey, employers continue to bring in workers to supplement their local workforce as they get awarded construction projects.
What construction companies need                                                              
“There is a lack of skilled workers in the construction trades and most of the highly skilled workers gravitate to jobs at the larger companies like Black Construction, dck and Watts,” Massey stated. “The medium to small size contractors who do not have fortune 500 stateside backing and low profit margins are forced to seek workers from off island as they are not able to pay more and attract skilled workers away from the large companies.”
For example, Massey added, some contractors may bring in workers for specialty occupations that are hard to find locally like welders or electricians.
Non-construction H2 needs                                                                  
Within the private sector there is a total of 1,310 H2 workers. In non-construction, there is a need for specialty occupations and skills. For example: A concierge position at a hotel typically does not require much prerequisite skill except the candidate needs to read, write and speak Japanese.   This person will be hired to supplement the existing concierge staff and handle cases where the guest or customer does not speak English or may need assistance with documentation, or who assists other staff in reading Japanese documents that guests present.
“What all H-2B applications boil down to is an employer has tried to hire locally to meet his manpower needs and has failed to recruit qualified and skilled workers from the local labor market.  So now they turn to sourcing them from off island via the H-2B program, which is expensive, highly regulated and is a paperwork nightmare. But their business typically thrive once they get the right workforce.”
TREND: H2 worker numbers decrease during Calvo administration    
The good news is the number of H2 workers on Guam is steadily decreasing: from as many as 1,457 in 2011 to 1,310 in 2014.
That may mean more jobs are being filled locally.

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