Newly published estimates for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands show that real Gross Domestic Product, GDP adjusted to remove price changes, increased 5.2 percent in 2012 after decreasing 6.8 percent in 2011.
For comparison, real GDP for the United States (excluding the territories) increased 2.8 percent in 2012 and 1.8 percent in 2011.
Tourism spending was a key driver of the CNMI’s economy over this period, accounting for much of the growth in 2012 and the decline in 2011. Exports of services, which consist mostly of spending by tourists, increased 17.0 percent in 2012 after decreasing 10.7 percent in 2011. The pattern of tourism spending reflected visitor arrivals to the CNMI, which rebounded in 2012 after falling significantly in 2011. The decline in 2011 reflected a drop in arrivals from Japan that were adversely affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Consumer spending also played a major role in the economy, increasing 4.9 percent in 2012 after decreasing 2.4 percent in 2011. The pattern of consumer spending reflected household purchases of durable goods, primarily motor vehicles.
Territorial government spending fell in both years.
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