After six consecutive quarterly declines, the economy rebounded showing a marginal increase in real GDP of 0.6 per cent; primarily due to improved weather conditions and the strengthening of productive activities within most industries. This was reflected by overall increases in the Goods Producing and Services Industries of 2.2 per cent and 0.1 per cent, respectively. The Director General, of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, Mr. Colin Bullock, made this assessment today, Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at the Institute’s quarterly press briefing, which provided details on the performance of the economy for the 3rd quarter of the calendar year as well as an update on the indicators of well-being and progress that track Jamaica’s achievements towards Vision 2030 Jamaica. The Director General stated that the economy should continue to show signs of growth over the short-term as the performance of most industries improve.
The Agriculture and Mining & Quarrying industries both grew by 5.0 per cent, recording the highest increases within the Goods Producing Industry, while Construction increased by 2.5 per cent. Manufacture was the only Goods-Producing industry which declined, down 0.8 per cent. Within the Services Industry, all industries increased with the exception of Electricity & Water down 3.5 per cent and Producers of Government Services down 0.5 per cent.
Indicators for the labour market showed that the total unemployed labour force increased by 34, 200 persons in July 2013 compared with July 2012. The Director General pointed out that the unemployment rate for July 2013 was 15.4 per cent, compared with 13.1 per cent in July 2012.
Overall projections for the October-December 2013 period are likely to remain positive. Real GDP is expected to grow within the range of 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent. This is predicated primarily on the implementation of major projects such as the Agro Parks—which are geared towards inducing growth within the economy—and the strengthening of investor confidence with the successful completion of the second IMF quarterly review. However, the Director General indicated that the expected out-turn could be negatively affected, by a weak global environment which would impact external demand.
Governance, Social and Environment Indicators
Under the Vision 2030 Jamaica-National Development Plan framework, two indicators under review were examined—Education and Security Status. In Education, 31.9 per cent of students sitting the CSEC examinations this year attained passes in five or more subjects including English Language and/or Mathematics, similar to 2012. In terms of Serious and Violent Crimes, 261 serious and violent crimes per 100,000 population were committed over the period January to September 2013, a decline of 12.1 per cent from 297 per 100,000 population over the similar period in 2012. Increases were reported in the murder rate for January to September 2013 at 32.9 per 100,000 population, up 5.3 per cent from 31.2 per 100,000 population over the similar period in 2012. The increase in the murder rate marks the first reversal in the downward trend in crime rates since June 2010.
Contact: Claudette M. Myers (Communication Specialist)