For FY 2016/17, real value added was projected to have increased by 1.1 per cent, while for January–March 2017, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) remained relatively the same compared with January–March 2016. This was due to an estimated increase of 0.5 per cent in the Services Industry for the quarter, and an estimated decline of 1.1 per cent in the Goods Producing Industry. The decline in the Goods Producing Industry during the quarter reflected lower value added in the Mining & Quarrying and the Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing industries, down 10.8 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively. These declines outweighed the increases registered for the Manufacture industry (up 1.1 per cent) and the Construction industry (up 0.8 per cent). The Director General, Planning Institute of Jamaica, Dr. Wayne Henry, revealed these developments in the economy this morning, Tuesday, May 30, 2017, at the Institute’s quarterly press briefing.
With regard to the Services Industry, all industries recorded growth with the exception of the Producers of Government Services, which decreased by 0.1 per cent. The industries registering the largest increases were: Finance & Insurance Services (1.0 per cent); Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities (0.6 per cent); and Other Services (0.6 per cent). The Electricity & Water Supply; Transport, Storage & Communication; and Wholesale & Retail Trade, Repair & Installation of Machinery industries each recorded an increase of 0.5 per cent.
In terms of macroeconomic indicators, Jamaica recorded inflation of 1.0 per cent for January–March 2017. Inflation resulted primarily from increased prices in the divisions: Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & Other Fuels (up 4.5 per cent); and Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages (up 0.7 per cent). Higher prices during the review quarter largely reflected upward movement in the fuel rate component of electricity bills, associated with increases in international crude oil prices.
For FY 2016/17, the Services Industry was estimated to have increased by 0.6 per cent and the Goods Producing Industry expanded by 2.8 per cent. All industries, except for Mining & Quarrying and Producers of Government Services, were projected to have grown during FY 2016/17. The industries with the largest projected increases were: Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing (11.1 per cent); Electricity & Water Supply (2.5 per cent); Hotels & Restaurants (1.5 per cent); and Finance & Insurance Services (1.1 per cent).
The Director General also revealed some positive outcomes in the Labour Market. He stated that the total employed labour force for January 2017 increased by 21 900 persons to 1 185 700 persons compared with January 2016. The unemployment rate for January 2017 was 12.7 per cent compared with 13.3 per cent in January 2016 and 12.9 per cent in October 2016.
Short term prospects for post quarter April–June 2017 are overall positive. Real GDP growth is projected within the range of 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent relative to April–June 2016. The Director General, however, cautioned that our continued vulnerability to weather conditions could negatively impact growth.
Contact: Carole James (Communication Manager)