Guam Unemployment Dropped Significantly Last Year

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By end of third quarter, unemployment decreased to 10 percent

By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Feb. 12, 2014) – Guam’s unemployment rate posted a huge drop to 10 percent in September 2013 from 14.6 percent in June and 13.3 percent in March of the same year, according to the Guam Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

The bureau’s report said there were 7,160 jobless people during the survey period in the third quarter of last year, reflecting a decrease of 810 from the comparable period in September 2012.

"This train is moving, full-speed ahead, in the right direction. I’m happy that more people are finding work and believing that jobs are available," Gov. Eddie Calvo said. "But I won’t be content until everyone looking for opportunity finds a good career in a well-paying job. We’re going to keep working toward that goal."

The survey excluded prison inmates, service members, civilians living in the military community, individuals under 16 and non-immigrant aliens.

The survey noted an increase in the number of persons not in the labor category. "For the September 2013 survey period, 6,570 persons or 13 percent in the ‘not in the labor force’ category indicated that they wanted a job but did not look for work for a variety of reasons," the labor department’s report said. "Where 87 percent in the ‘not in the labor force’ category indicated they did not want a job during the survey period."

Additional jobs

A separate survey released by the government last month indicated the number of jobs in the private sector went up while government jobs dipped in September 2013. The labor department reported there were 590 more jobs in the private sector and 310 fewer jobs in the government compared to the previous year. Federal jobs declined by 310 positions in the same time span, purportedly resulting from federal furloughs.

The administration is anticipating hundreds of jobs to be created this year with the opening of several multimillion-dollar projects, such as the Guam Regional Medical City, the U.S. Navy hospital replacement project, the Dusit Thani Guam Resort, and Lotte Hotel, the former Aurora Resort and Spa.

Job workshops

Meanwhile, the administration and the Guam National Guard are collaborating with the U.S. Department of Labor to conduct a series of workshops for soldiers, in an effort to help get them into the workforce.

The job placement initiative for soldiers is a component of The Keep Your Guard Up, a program launched by the governor and Maj. Gen. Benny M. Paulino in September last year.

"Trainers from the U.S. Department of Labor are working with the first of two groups of soldiers to provide training in areas of transition planning, career exploration and validation, job search, building effective resumes, federal programs, hiring and applying, and skilled interviewing," a press release from the Guard said.

This first training session, which began Sunday and ended yesterday, was held at the Guam National Guard’s Readiness Center in Barrigada.

The second session, which begins today through Friday, will take place at the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort.

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