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The economy continued to record growth during the 1st quarter of the fiscal year. The improved economic performance during the April to June period was driven by the performance of key industries—Agriculture, Hotel & Restaurants, and Electricity & Water. Real GDP grew by an estimated 1.1 per cent, which was reflected by increases in the Goods Producing Industry (up 2.3 per cent) and the Services Industry (up 0.8 per cent). Newly appointed Director General, Planning Institute of Jamaica, Dr Wayne Henry, made the announcement this morning, Wednesday, August 24, 2016, at the Institute’s quarterly press briefing at which an  update on the indicators of well-being that track Jamaica’s progress towards achieving the Vision 2030 Jamaica goals was also provided. He pointed out that the continued strengthening of the global economy also provided the conditions to further spur growth within the Jamaican economy. 

Within the Goods Producing Industry, Agriculture continued to perform favourably, recording the strongest growth up 7.0 per cent. Increases were also registered for Manufacturing up 0.7 per cent and Construction up 0.4 per cent.  Mining & Quarrying, however, experienced a decline of 1.3 per cent, representing the 4th consecutive quarterly decline.  Under Services, all industries registered increases with the exception of Government Services (down 0.2 per cent) with the Electricity & Water industry, (up 5.5 per cent), and Hotel & Restaurants, (up 1.6 per cent), due primarily to increases in stopover arrivals.
The Director General also revealed positive outcomes within the Labour Market. Citing data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica’s (STATIN) Labour Force Survey for April 2016, Dr Henry noted that overall improvements were also seen in the total employed labour force which increased by 40100 persons to 1168 600 relative to April last year. 
Short term prospects for the quarter July–September 2016 remain positive. The continued strengthening in the performance of most industries within the Goods Producing and Services Industries is expected, and will be supported by improved investment prospects and increased investor confidence. Real GDP is projected to grow within the range of 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent vis-a-vis the corresponding period last year.  He, however, cautioned that threats from possible weather-related shocks could derail growth. 
Governance, Social and Environment Indicators 
Under the Vision 2030 Jamaica – National Development Plan framework, two indicators were reviewed during the period—Labour Force Quality, and Security.  Improvements were seen in Labour Force Quality with 25.4 per cent of the total labour force having vocational or professional certification, based on the quarterly labour force survey for April 2016.  This represented an increase of 0.6 percentage point from 24.8 per cent in the April 2015 survey. In terms of Security Status, overall crime rates continued to trend downwards for the sixth consecutive year.   A total of 117 Category 1 Crimes per 100 000 population were committed for January¬–June 2016, showing a decline of 22.8 per cent from 151 per 100 000 population over the similar period in 2015. The murder rate, however, during the period increased with 22.2 murders per 100 000 population being committed, up 2.4 per cent, over the similar period in 2015. 
Contact: Claudette M. Myers (Communication Specialist)
Telephone: 960-9339/906-4471/2/935-5062(D) 
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