Hagåtña, Guam – The unemployment rate in Guam fell to 4.8% in June 2022, representing a continued downward trend in unemployment. This is the lowest unemployment rate reported since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is back down in normal territory for the island signaling that the post-pandemic economic recovery has taken hold.
“We are once again seeing the outcome of our concerted efforts to revitalize the economy, and this starts with more jobs. The programs we have in place are working as more businesses hire and people return to full time work,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero. “This is a sign of a stabilizing economy and that our island is headed in the direction of continued growth.”
In addition to a decline in the unemployment rate, other highlights include an increase in the total number of payroll jobs by 2,130; a boost in private sector hourly earnings by $1.07, going from $16.06 to $17.13 year-over-year; and a surge of nearly $74 in weekly earnings, from $551.77 to $625.74. The average number of hours worked per week in the private sector also increased from 34.3 to 36.5.
“There’s good news across the board. With more people working, hours increasing, hourly rates up, and more training programs available, now is a great time to be working or to expand skill sets. Our Administration is optimistic about the future of employment on Guam,” said Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio.
In Fiscal Year 2022, Department of Defense (DOD) construction contracts reached nearly $800 million and exceeded all records for Guam. Civilian building permits for FY 2022 just exceeded $580 million primarily for residential, commercial, and government, including roads, utility and infrastructure–a record exceeded only once in FY 1991 during the Tumon Bay Hotel building boom at $853 million.
“With DOD forecasting $1 to $2 billion in activity for Guam over the next five years and diversification initiatives in 3D printing, telecommunication, transshipment, agriculture and aquaculture, we expect to see a broadening and strengthening of the job market for Guam in 2023,” added Governor Leon Guerrero.
The June 2022 unemployment rate of 4.8% is 14.6 points below the peak rate of 19.4% in December 2020, when unemployment rose in the U.S. overall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Guam’s economic recovery has accelerated substantially in recent months. Tourism and construction are on the upswing. Statistical indicators of this are increased Government of Guam revenue receipts, increased tourist arrivals, increased employment, increased average number of hours worked, increased average weekly wage, and declining unemployment rates,” said GDOL Chief Economist Gary Hiles.
Tourism numbers began a substantial rebound from South Korea when their travel restrictions were eased in April 2022. Korea arrivals were only 1.4% of pre-pandemic arrivals for March 2022 compared to March 2019. By June they increased to 26.1% and by September they reached 29.4% of the comparable months’ pre-pandemic arrivals.
The Employment Report is available online at dol.guam.gov. For more information, contact the Bureau of Labor Statistics at 671-475-7054.