The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) says the economy declined by 9.4 per cent during the third quarter or October to December period of 2020 when compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.
The economy had previously contracted by 10.7 per cent in the July to September quarter according to data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin).
Speaking at a quarterly briefing this morning, Dr Wayne Henry, director general of the PIOJ, said that the continued impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic and its imposed restrictions continue to negatively affect the economy along with the prospects for GDP growth.
During the period, preliminary estimates reflected that the goods producing industry contracted by 0.6 per cent and the services industry by 11.5 per cent.
There were also wholesale contractions across some major sectors such as agriculture, which declined by 6.1 per cent, manufacturing by 3.4 per cent and hotels and restaurants — under which tourism falls — by 52.8 per cent.
More positive results were presented for other key sectors such as mining and quarrying, which went up by six per cent and construction by 6.2 per cent.
The PIOJ, in its outlook for the current January to March quarter, however said that the economy is expected to contract within the range of seven to nine per cent based on early estimates.
“If this forecast is realised, it will represent the smallest rate of quarterly contractions for fiscal year 2020/21 and may be indicative of a gradual return to normalcy in economic activities relative to the preceding quarters,” Henry said.
The entity said that while growth is expected to resume during the first quarter of this year, it maintains current projections that the country will not return to its pre-COVID-19 level of output until the next three years or by FY2023/24.