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Additional data to gauge territory’s economic performance included in next BEA publication

The federal government  will expand the current measures of economic activity for the US territories, including American Samoa, “to include additional information to gauge territorial economic performance”, according to a joint statement by the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) and the Commerce Department’s  Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

The announcement last Thursday comes days after OIA and BEA jointly presented to governors and congressional representatives of the insular areas at the Interagency Group on Insular Areas (IGIA) meeting, attended by both Gov. Togiola Tulafono and Congressman Faleomavaega Eni.

In the past few years, OIA/BEA have collected and published data for gross domestic product (GDP), gross domestic income (GDI), and their major components for each of the four territories.

The work published by the Federal government was a first for the territories in the nation’s history and standardizes data on par with that of the fifty states.  In each island, OIA/BEA has worked collaboratively with staff from each of the territorial governments.

Along with continued publication of estimates for GDP and GDI, additional estimates will be included for:

•     GDP by Industry

•     Compensation of Employees by Industry

•     Detailed Consumer Spending

The GDP by Industry statistics will provide the insular areas with information on the share of each industry in the economy and each industry’s contribution to the overall real GDP growth decline, according to the news release.

This will also demonstrate how much each industry contributes to the overall inflation rate for the economy.

The Compensation of Employees by Industry statistics will provide estimates of compensation, which equals wages and salaries plus supplements to wages and salaries, for major industries of the economy.  These measures will be useful for tracking compensation trends for key industries within the territorial economies.

The Detailed Consumer Spending statistics will provide additional information on the components of consumer spending, or “personal consumption expenditures,” and will be available on a nominal and a real basis.

These measures will show how household spending patterns have changed over time and how the composition of goods and services purchased by households has changed, according to the news release.

“A critical component of the work we do here at OIA is to equip island leaders with the necessary resources to design and execute their own economic growth and development policies.  Having data that is the “gold-standard” and that is nationally recognized and accessible is an essential part of realizing this,” said Interior Assistant Secretary Tony Babauta.

The new measures are scheduled to be released in the summer of 2012, in conjunction with the publication of the 2010 estimates of GDP for each territory.