The Jamaican economy expanded faster than first estimated during the April to June period of this fiscal year.
Data released by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin) — the State agency responsible for collating and disseminating such data — show the economy expanded by 14.2 per cent during the quarter.
That is a faster pace of expansion than the 12.9 per cent growth estimated by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) in August. The growth recorded during the June quarter was the first since the third quarter (July – September) of 2019, when the economy grew by a marginal 0.6 per cent. Growth was flat in the final quarter of 2019 at 0.0 per cent and the economy contracted every quarter in 2020. That includes 2.4 per cent decline in economic activity during the January to March quarter before the novel coronavirus pandemic began impact Jamaica. The country recorded its first case of COVID-19 on March 10, 2020.
Most of the growth this year so far has been led by recovery of the tourism sector. That sector which shuttered in March last year before reopening in June — recorded an expansion of 334.6 per cent, albeit from a low base. Overall, Statin’s release showed both the services and goods sector expanded faster than previous estimates. The only blot on the growth was a 9.2 per cent decline in the mining and quarrying sector.
Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke called the development “simply great news. Economic recovery has begun. Even better news is the strength and pace of the economic recovery, which has surpassed all projections, forecasts and expectations. With such a strong start Jamaica could recover pre-Covid levels of economic output sooner than previously projected and ahead of most other countries in our peer group. “
He added “It’s still early days, however, and the pandemic is still with us. As long as that is the case, then uncertainties exist. It will therefore be important to continue to be responsive while balancing what we know today against the uncertainties of tomorrow. It is evident that this approach has delivered very encouraging results thus far.”