JAMAICAN economy grew 12.9% in April to June quarter - PIOJ

JAMAICAN economy grew 12.9% in April to June quarter - PIOJ

KINGSTON, Jamaica August 26, 2021 - The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) says the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the Jamaican economy grew by an estimated 12.9% in the April to June 2021 quarter compared with the corresponding quarter of 2020. 

PIOJ Director General Dr. Wayne Henry on Thursday said the out-turn for the April to June 2021 period largely reflected the impact of the relaxation of measures implemented to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, relative to the corresponding quarter of 2020 when the country was partially locked down for the majority of the period.

He said growth was spurred by increased demand for Jamaican goods and services due to relaxation of COVID-19 containment measures and the increased roll-out of vaccination efforts globally, as well as increased operating hours for businesses in Jamaica, which boosted production levels. 

Added to that was an increase in the implementation of residential and commercial construction projects and rural construction works, as well as improved weather conditions, which facilitated growth in the agriculture and electricity and water supply industries.

Dr. Henry said growth was also boosted by "higher levels of employment relative to the closure of businesses and layoffs caused by the lockdown in the corresponding quarter of 2020," and "higher levels of business confidence associated with the prospects for strengthened economic out-turn in the short to medium term."

In the services industry, tourism grew by 330.7 per cent; other services by 50 per cent; and transport, storage and communication by 16.5 per cent.

Construction led the way in the goods producing industry, with growth of 18.3 per cent, followed by agriculture, forestry and fishing with 10.3 per cent, and manufacturing at 3.1 per cent.

Dr. Henry noted that while the growth recorded is being compared to a very low base in 2020, it indicates that "the economy has begun to show signs of economic recovery" and "this growth momentum will provide a fillip to the economy in driving more robust growth in the medium term."

"It should be noted, however, that the adverse impact of COVID-19 on economic activities is likely to be present for the medium term, given the emergence of new variants and challenges in attaining herd immunity," he pointed out.

Dr. Henry, who was speaking at a media briefing on Thursday, said the PIOJ is projecting a four to six per cent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in the July to September quarter, and six to 10 per cent for the fiscal year. 

However, he said events such as Sunday's fire at Jamalco could impact growth in the current quarter by causing a downturn in the mining and quarrying industry.

Other factors which could interrupt this positive outlook include: adverse weather conditions as a result of the hurricane season; plant downtime due to relatively aged equipment in major industries; and the spread of the new variants of COVID-19 to the domestic economy, "resulting in the loss of productive time as stricter COVID-19 controls are enacted to combat these new waves of infection." 

Dr. Henry said the economy is not expected to return to pre-COVID levels until about fiscal year 2023-2024.

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