Jamaican economy improves for first time since 2007

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday February 29, 2012 – The Jamaican economy grew by 1.7 per cent during the last quarter of last year, representing the first growth in the Global Domestic Product since 2007.

And the country’s economy is projected to grow by a further 0.5 to 1.5 per cent during the first quarter of 2012, with most sectors expected to show further expansion.

According to director general of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, Dr. Gladstone Hutchinson, most industries recorded growth between October and December last year, with those producing goods recording 5.8 per cent growth, and the services industry an increase of 0.2 per cent.

In the goods producing industry, agriculture accounted for the largest increase of 16.4 per cent, while mining and quarrying grew by 8.2 per cent. Manufacturing and construction also showed increases of 2.1 and one per cent respectively.

However, the services sector showed an overall growth of 0.2 per cent, but recorded declines in the areas of finance and insurance services; transport, storage and communication. These areas recorded declines by 0.5 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively.

Looking ahead for 2012, Dr. Hutchinson said agriculture, forestry and fishing, and the wholesale and retail trade industries were expected to be the main drivers of growth during the forecast period.

He added that the anticipated slowdown in the growth rate from the December quarter reflected the normalization of output levels in industries such as mining and quarrying, tourism and agriculture.

Already, preliminary data indicates that the inflation rate for January is 0.4 per cent, while total electricity generation declined by 1.2 per cent, and electricity sales by 5.9 per cent. Declines were also noted in tourism with airport arrivals dropping by three per cent. However cruise tourism arrival numbers were up by 74.1 per cent. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)