A little positive financial news for a change. The Guam Labor Department has released the latest economic outlook and labor report which show that unemployment continues to drop, and average wages are edging slightly higher. DOL economist Gary Hiles says, "We're now very close to the u.s. unemployment rate. As of June it was exactly the same 4.3-percent, and its dropped in the states to 4.1 percent in January, so we're roughly comparable.Wages have been increasing slightly in the latest year, average hourly earnings went from 13.46 cents an hour to 13.72, and the average weekly earnings went from 485.95 to 497.95 so there's been a moderate increase in wages as well."
Hiles prepares an economic outlook in January ahead of the annual budget submission. He says for fiscal 2019 it's generally positive, but is tempered by a big decline in revenue as a result of the recent Trump tax reforms.
"That forecast is likely to continue due to expanded construction and the possibility of expanded tourism especially with more Korean visitors and especially if the Japanese market bounces back. The economy overall is expected to be a little bit better, but the government of Guam has a serious challenge in trying to address that shortfall in revenues."
As we've been reporting, the government is expected to see a 48-million dollar plunge in tax revenue this fiscal year, and 66-million dollars in fiscal year 2019.