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Bradley: slow economic growth expected for Guam

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The economic outlook calls for continued slow growth. Bank of Guam chief economist Joseph Bradley presented that assessment in his report at the Bank's Spring economic forum.

Joe Bradley says Guam's economy is continuing to grow, but just ever so slightly.

"I mean I'm not seeing a downturn, but I'm not seeing a thriving economy like we've had in the past, he said.

In fact he notes, it's been almost three decades since the last big boom of the late '80s. More recently, Guam has seen a boost in spending for the marine relocation, but Bradley says that's had some negative impacts as well.

"The military projects have absorbed most of the resident construction workers and whereas they're allowed to bring in foreign H2 workers in recognition that there are not enough construction workers on Guam," he said. "The civilian community is really hurting. We're not able to build new buildings in the civilian community, or not very many, and so we're not able to create the new jobs that those buildings would provide."

The second pillar of the economy, tourism, has racked in record arrivals in the past few years, but that too,  Bradley said, has not translated into substantial growth, except for a few industry segments.

"I'm seeing a lot of bodies, but I'm not seeing a lot of new businesses opening, I'm not seeing really much expansion of businesses in Tumon," he said.

Bradley said we need a third leg to stand on. One he's been suggesting for several years now is a telemarketing and pre-positioning and warehousing of goods industry.

"We've got daylight hours, we've got native language speakers, we can work in the telemarketing side of it, and it would create a lot of good jobs," he said. "And a warehousing industry, if we could bring in goods, store them here for more timely delivery for customers in Asia."

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