Editor’s Note: A study to compile prevailing wages for all occupations in the Northern Mariana Islands was released by the NMI Department of Commerce in June. The “2014 CNMI Prevailing Wage and Workforce Assessment Study” is an update to a 2011 study that was conducted following the enactment of U.S. Public Law 110-229. The law required NMI employers seeking to hire non-U.S. eligible employees from outside the NMI to pay a wage rate equal to or above the prevailing wage for a particular occupation. Up until the 2011 study, prevailing wage rates for all occupations were not available, the study states, and employers used wage rates from other U.S. jurisdictions, which proved unfavorable to NMI employers.
In addition, “the CNMI needed to assess the types and level of skills of the employed population in the CNMI workforce,” the study states.
The following are excerpts and charts from the 2014 study’s results. The full study can be downloaded at http://commerce.gov.mp/.
Total workforce and occupations
… “As expected, Saipan had the vast majority of the workers, with 24,166, about 94% of all workers. Tinian had almost 1,000 workers (about 4%) and Rota had about 500 workers (2%).
CNMI had more male than female workers — 13,996 males (55%) compared to 11,662 females. As the table shows, each of the islands also had more male than female workers.
The largest category of major occupations was management with 3,848 (15%) of the total. Office and administrative support occupations was second, with 3,189 (12%) of the total, so these two categories made up more than one in every four workers. The next two groups, those with more than 2,000 workers, were sales and related occupations, with 2,810 (11%) and food preparation serving related with 2,092 (8%). No other major occupation category had more than 2,000 workers. As expected, the distribution for Saipan was similar to the distribution for the whole Commonwealth since most of the workers lived on Saipan.
For Tinian, office and administrative support was the largest major occupation with 241 (24%), followed by food preparation with 190 (19%). These two same groups were the largest on Rota as well.”
Workforce by age
… “The 2014 report on prevailing wages showed three broad age groups: those under 30, those 30 to 49 and those 50 and over […]. The age group 30 to 49 was the largest, as expected, at 56% of the workers. The young workers below the age of 30 made up just 13%, and the older workers ages 50 and over were 30%. Of those under 30, the largest age group was those doing office and administrative support (805 of the 3,344 or 24%).”
Workforce by citizenship and ethnicity
… “About one in three workers were U.S. citizens, and two in three were non-citizens. For the males, 4,959 of the 13,996 were citizens compared to 3,849 of the 11,662 of the females. While about one in three of the managers were U.S. citizens, almost equal numbers of citizens and non-citizens were office and administrative support workers — the second largest occupation category. Almost all construction workers were non-citizens, as well as about four in five of the food preparation and serving personnel. About one in three of salespersons were U.S. citizens, the third largest occupation group.”
… “Filipinos, being 12,101 of the 25,658 workers were almost half of the workforce. Other Asians were the next largest group, followed by Chamorros. As noted elsewhere, the counts for Carolinians are probably artificially low because of reporting issues.
Of the larger occupational categories, Other Asians were almost half of all the managers, with Filipinos being another one in four. For all of the other large categories, Filipinos predominated, being more than half of the food preparation workers and more than one in three of office and administrative support workers.”
… “While Chamorros are the third largest group of workers, they make up a small proportion of the total workforce. More males than females were in the workforce for all major ethnic groups.”
… “The largest category for educational attainment was high school graduates who were more than half of all workers. Those with bachelor’s degrees were about one in five of all workers, but those with master’s degrees or more were only about 1% of the total. The distribution by occupational category reflected the education needed for the skills of the specific occupation. About one in four of those with bachelor’s degrees were in management, but a slightly smaller number of managers only had a high school diploma. About one in four of the office and administrative support workers had bachelor’s degrees, and these workers also were about one in six of all workers with bachelor’s degrees in the Commonwealth.”
… “The average hourly wage for all workers in the CNMI for 2014 (based on the enumeration in early 2015) was $8.71. This average is obtained by multiplying the hourly wages for all workers and then dividing by the number of workers. The hourly average wage for Saipan was 3¢ higher at $8.74, while the rates for Tinian (at $8.26) and Rota ($8.09) were lower.”
… “Males made little more than females, about 18¢ more per hour, so females and males were approximately equal in pay in the CNMI. Obviously, differences appeared in the specific occupational categories. Males made more than females in the health and education fields but less in social sciences.”
… “The legal and health fields paid the highest wages, many of the occupations paid little more than the minimum wage.”
… “U.S. citizens in the CNMI do not require work visas, but non-citizens (except those from the Freely Associated States, since they have free entry under their Compacts) do need visas. Most […] get CW1 visas (14,988 of the 25,658, or about three in every five CNMI workers). CNMI workers who did not need a visa made an average of $10.94 an hour, compared to about $7.37 for those with CW1 visas and $9.92 for those with other visas. Females with CW1 visas made $7.29 an hour, almost exactly the same as the $7.32 made by the males. However, for both those with no visas and those with other visas, males made more than $2 more on average per hour than females. For both CW1 visa holders and the no-visa workers, their hourly wage increased with age; for the other visa holders, the workers in the oldest age group made slightly less than those [of] middle age.”