The economy of American Samoa grew 1.3 percent in 2010, according to new estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) largely reflected increases in territorial government spending and private fixed investment, including construction.
For the first time, BEA also calculated estimates of GDP by industry, compensation by industry, and detailed consumer spending for the island. BEA also revised previous estimates for 2002 to 2009.
American Samoa returned to growth in 2010 after 2 years of economic contraction. The island’s growth compares with 2.4 percent for the United States as a whole in 2010.
Following the September 2009 earthquake and tsunami, the American Samoa government significantly increased its spending, including hiring temporary workers for cleanup and recovery operations. Construction activity picked up as homes and other structures damaged or destroyed by the natural disaster were repaired and rebuilt.
Economic growth was tempered by a decline in exports, which consisted overwhelmingly of exports of the tuna canning industry.
Consumer spending also continued to be a drag on the American Samoa economy in 2010, declining for the 6th straight year. Spending fell in both goods and services.
GDP by industry and compensation by industry
For American Samoa, the GDP by industry estimates show that the manufacturing industry, which includes tuna canning, contracted 12.9 percent in 2010. The tuna canning industry, which had experienced a steep decline in 2009 due to the closure of one of the territory’s two canneries, continued to decline in 2010. Nonmanufacturing industries, on the other hand, grew 5.3 percent in 2010, and the territorial government sector increased 2.7 percent.
Private sector compensation fell in 2010, largely as a result of the cannery closure in 2009. Territorial government compensation, including compensation paid to temporary workers after the earthquake and tsunami, increased in 2010.
BEA plans to release estimates for 2011 in the spring of 2013. You can read the latest news release and tables here.