January 31, 2023

Real gross domestic product (GDP) for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands decreased 29.7 percent in 2020, after decreasing 11.3 percent in 2019, according to statistics released today by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The decrease in real GDP reflected decreases in exports of goods and services, private fixed investment, personal consumption expenditures, and government spending. Imports, a subtraction item in the calculation of GDP, also decreased.

CNMI Contributions to the Percent Change in Real GDP 2020_1

COVID–19 Impact on the 2020 CNMI GDP Estimate

The economy of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) was substantially affected by the COVID–19 pandemic due to its effects on spending by consumers, visitors, businesses, and governments. The U.S. government passed several laws to support and sustain businesses and individuals through the pandemic. Expenditures funded by the various federal grants and transfer payments are reflected in the GDP estimates. However, the full effects of the pandemic cannot be quantified in BEA’s statistics because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.

Exports of goods and services decreased 74.4 percent. The decrease in exports was largely accounted for by exports of services, consisting primarily of visitor spending, including on casino gambling. Statistics published by the CNMI government showed that the number of visitor arrivals to the CNMI decreased 81.7 percent.

Private fixed investment decreased 42.7 percent, reflecting a decline in spending on structures and equipment.

Personal consumption expenditures decreased 6.2 percent, reflecting declines in spending on both goods and services.

Government spending decreased 6.0 percent, reflecting a decline in federal government spending. Federal government spending decreased 43.0 percent after being elevated in 2019 to support recovery activities following Typhoon Yutu.

For more information, read the full report.