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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Insular Affairs
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Joint Interior And Commerce Efforts Lead To Release Of First GDP Estimates For America Samoa, Guam, The Commonwealth Of the Northern Mariana Islands, And The U.S. Virgin Islands



Joint Interior and Commerce Team

Washington, D.C. (May 5, 2010) – Director Nikolao Pula of the Office of Insular Affairs, today joined Commerce Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Dr. Rebecca Blank at the Department of Commerce for the release of the first set of estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) for American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

All four members of Congress from the U.S. Territories, Representative Eni F. Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa), Representative Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam), Representative Donna Christensen (D-U.S. Virgin Islands) and Representative Gregorio Kilili Sablan (D-CNMI) provided remarks as well as Executive Director Kiran Ahuja of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

"On behalf of Secretary Salazar and Assistant Secretary Babauta, I want you to know that the Department of the Interior is very pleased to have been able to partner with the Department of Commerce and the Bureau of Economic Analysis in funding the Statistical Improvement Program and collecting this much needed data.  We are also pleased with the strong interest and cooperation we have received from the leaders and pertinent officials of the governments in the territories in making this happen."

Up until now an official framework had not existed for estimating the GDP of these four areas and for objectively gauging changes in economic activity.  The estimates released today for the four territories cover the period 2002 to 2007. The estimates show that real GDP – GDP adjusted to remove price changes – grew over this period in each of the territories except the CNMI.  From 2002 to 2007, American Samoa's GDP grew at an average annual rate of 0.4 percent, Guam's GDP grew at an average annual rate of 1.8 percent, and the USVI's GDP grew at an average annual rate of 2.9 percent; in contrast, the CNMI's GDP decreased at an average annual rate of 4.2 percent. For comparison, the average annual growth rate for the United States (excluding the territories) was 2.8 percent over this period. More detailed information for each territory can be found at http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/general/2010/territory_0310.htm

Remarks by Nikolao Pula, Director, Office of Insular Affairs (May 5, 2010)

Remarks by Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (May 5, 2010)