SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 31) - Amid the economic uncertainties, Saipan’s population grew by 4 percent and more individuals found jobs during a two-year period. That’s according to a federally-funded survey conducted last year.

The unemployment rate among U.S. citizens in the labor force remained higher than those of non-U.S. citizens.

The results of the 300-page American Community Survey showed that Saipan’s population reached 67,011 in April 2002.

This is about 4 percent higher than the island’s population of 64,324 in 2000.

Saipan was home to 30,542 U.S. citizens at the time of the survey, and they remained outnumbered by non-U.S. citizens, mostly non-resident workers from the Philippines, 13,542; and China, 12,654.

There were 36,469 non-U.S. citizens working or residing on Saipan at the time of the survey which was conducted by the Department of Commerce.

Of the island’s 40,620 individuals in the labor force, or those 16 years and older, 1,207 were unemployed—a 43 percent drop from the 2,113 reported unemployed in 2000.

About 60 percent or 731 of the unemployed were U.S. citizens, while the rest were non-U.S. citizens.

Unlike the U.S. Census held every 10 years, the American Community Survey is supposed to be conducted on Saipan on an annual basis starting 2000, said Diego Sasamoto, director of the Department of Commerce’s Central Statistics Division.

But due to funding problems, Commerce was not able to conduct the annual survey in 2001.

Sasamoto said Commerce received $25,000 from the Office of Insular Affairs in 2002 for the survey.

The survey results showed that 32,174 individuals were employed by private companies, while 5,598 were employed by the local and federal governments.

Of the 30,542 U.S. citizens on Saipan in April 2002, 27,652 were born in the CNMI.

The other 1,822 were born in the U.S. while 1,068 were born on Guam.

About 86 percent of the total non-U.S. citizens on Saipan were from Asia: 13,542 from the Philippines; 12,654 from China; 2,552 from Korea; 1,282 from Japan; and the rest were from Thailand, Bangladesh, and other countries.

Non-U.S. citizens from the Freely Associated States consisted of 2,097 from Palau; 158 from the Marshall Islands; and 2,217 from the Federated States of Micronesia (Chuuk, Yap, Pohnpei and Kosrae).

There were also 139 individuals from other Pacific islands, and 448 from other countries.

February 3, 2003

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