Employment jumps 10,700 for 2018

Employment in Jamaica jumped by 10,700 persons since the start of 2018, to 1,217,300 persons in April, and 14,700 more than the 1,202,600 recorded in April last year.
A total of 1,206,600 persons, were employed, in January 2018 this year data out of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin)shows.
The effect of the increase in the number of persons employed, is that the unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent In April, compared to 12.2 percent in April 2017, but inched up slightly from the 9.6 percent recorded in January, this year.
“Among major occupation groups, the largest increase in the Employed Labour Force between April 2017 and April 2018 occurred in ‘Elementary Occupations’. This occupation group includes, among other jobs, car washers, street vendors and housekeepers in hotels. There were 174,900 persons employed in this occupation group in April 2018, an increase of 13,200 or 8.2 percent when compared with April 2017,” the Statin report showed.

Inflation in June but deflation intact

Jamaica recorded an increase of 0.4 percent inflation for June, leaving country still in deflation for the year to June at negative 0.3 percent and inflation for the last twelve months to 2.8 percent.
“Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels, moved up by 1.2 percent, an upward movement in the rate for electricity resulted in the group ‘Electricity, Gas, and Other Fuels increasing by 2 percent.

The price of electricity helped spike inflation in June.

While Water Supply and Miscellaneous Services Related to the Dwelling increased by 0.8 percent as a result of higher water and sewage rates. Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages rose 0.3 percent due to an increase of 0.7 per cent in the class ‘Vegetables and Starchy Foods. Higher prices were recorded for produce such as Irish potato, yam, carrot, lettuce and onion during the month under review” the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) indicated. Transport recorded an increase of 0.8 percent for the period, mainly due to increased prices for petrol the STATIN concluded.

Deflation for Jamaica’s Q1

Prices declined for another month in Jamaica, according to data just released by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) but prices are still high than a year ago.
Statin stated that the All Jamaica Consumer Price Index declined for the second consecutive month as a negative 0.1 percent inflation rate was recorded for March 2018. The main contributor to this movement was the 1.0 percent fall in Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages category, due to lower prices for agricultural produce resulting in a 4.3 percent reduction in index for the class Vegetables and Starchy Foods. Transportation recorded a decline of 0.4 percent for the period, resulting from lower fuel prices. Upward movement of a 3.2 percent in Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels, primarily resulting from higher electricity, water and sewage rates help to negate the above mention declines. As at March 2018, the calendar year-to-date inflation was negative 0.2 percent and the movement in the index for the last twelve months is 3.9 percent.

Jamaican Economy grew 0.5% in 2017

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Preliminary estimate by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin) puts growth in the Jamaican economy at 0.5 percent for 2017, after it grew by 1.1 per cent in the fourth quarter compared to the similar 2016 quarter, data just released by Statin shows.
The result will be subject to revision when additional data is obtained. Growth in the final quarter, Statin stated “resulted from improved performances in both the Services Industries up by 1.1 percent and the Goods Producing Industries 1.2 percent.”
“All industries within the Services Industries recorded gains: Electricity & Water Supply, 0.4 percent, Hotels & Restaurants 5.8 percent, Transport, Storage & Communication 0.7 percent, Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities 0.8 percent, Wholesale & Retail Trade; Repairs; Installation of Machinery & Equipment 0.5 percent,

Growth in tourism was strong in 2017

Finance & Insurance Services 0.8 percent, Producers of Government Services 0.2 percent and Other Services 1.4 percent.”
The main contributors to growth in the Goods Producing Industries were Mining & Quarrying 14.7 percent, Manufacturing 0.3 percent and Construction 0.7 percent. The Mining & Quarrying industry benefitted from higher production levels at the alumina plants. The Manufacturing industry’s performance was attributed to increased output from both the Food, Beverages & Tobacco and Other Manufacturing sub-industries, due largely to the increase in beverages, bakery products and grain mill products.
However, Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing declined by 1.1 per cent. The performance of the Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing industry was impacted by heavy rainfall, the Statin report stated.

Food prices pressure November’s inflation

Food category was main contributor to November’s inflation.

Jamaica’s inflation increased by 0.6 percent during November over for October 2017 based on the Consumer Price Index, according to Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN)
According to STATIN, the “movement was mainly the result of a 1.2 percent rise in the index for the heaviest weighted division Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages. Transportation moved up by 1 percent due to higher petrol prices and airfares, and Education increasing by 0.2 per cent, as a result of an increase in the cost of CSEC examination fees. The impact of the month’s inflation was however tempered by the 0.9 percent fall in the index for the division ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels, with lower cost for electricity being the main contributing factor.”
Year-to-date inflation is 4.6 percent, while inflation for the past 12 months is up 4.9 percent and the fiscal year-to-date movement was 3.6 per cent.
The relatively large revaluation of the Jamaican dollar against the US dollar since September, will have a moderating impact on inflation going forward.

Inflation eases in July

Inflation in Jamaica eased a bit in July to 0.6 percent compared to June 0.07 percent, according to data released by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin).
“For the second consecutive month the division Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages recorded the highest movement of 1.2 per cent. This was primarily due to an upward movement in the class ‘Vegetable and Starchy Foods up by 3.8 per cent,” Statin stated and the Transport division rose 0.3 percent. Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels decreased by 0.3 percent a result of lower electricity rates.
Inflation for the calendar July come out at 2.7 percent, while the movement over the last twelve months runs at 4.5 percent, slightly more than the 4.4 percent at June.

Jamaica’s Inflation spikes in June

‘Vegetables and Starchy Foods’ had a strong impact on price movement in June.

The Consumer Price Index for June 2017 increased by 0.7 percent, represented the highest monthly movement for the 2017 to date, a release from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin) stated.
The rate of inflation for the calendar year-to-date is 2.1 percent, 4.4 percent over June last year, while the fiscal year-to-date rate is 1.1 percent.
According to Statin, the sharp increase in June was due mainly to increases in the index for the three heaviest weighted divisions: Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages up by 1.1 per cent, Transport 0.4 percent and Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels up by 0.4 percent. The Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages division was impacted by the flood rains in mid-May, which disrupted the supplies of agricultural products and resulted in a 3. 7 percent rise in Vegetables and Starchy Foods. The increase in the Transport division was influenced by higher prices for petrol. Increased electricity rates was chiefly responsible for the upward movement in the division Housing, Water, Electricity Gas and Other Fuels, as the class Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels rose by 1.1 per cent. However, the overall movement of the division was tempered by the 1.3 percent decline in the class Water Supply and Miscellaneous Services Related to the Dwelling. Other notable increases were recorded for Restaurants and Accommodation Services, 0.6 percent and Recreation and Culture, 0.4 percent.

Jamaica just eked out Q1 growth

Economic activity in Jamaican in the March 2017 quarter was virtually zero, according the data put out by Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin), the government body charged to collating economic data on the country. The results are subject to revision with the final out turn likely to be arrived at more than a year from now.
Statin stated that weather conditions affected production in both agricultural and the mining sector in the quarter leading to declines in those sectors.
According to the release by Statin, the economy grew by a mere “0.1 percent in real terms for the first quarter of 2017 when compared to the similar quarter of 2016. This growth was due mainly to a 0.4 percent increase in the Services industries. While there were improved performances in both the Manufacturing and Construction industries.” “The overall goods producing industries declined by 0.9 percent,” the report stated.
All industries within the Services industries recorded higher levels of output with the exception of Producers of Government Services which remained relatively unchanged.

Growth in Manufacturing grew 2.7%.

Increased output was recorded for: Electricity & Water (0.5 percent), Wholesale & Retail Trade; Repairs; Installation of Machinery & Equipment (0.3 percent), Hotels & Restaurants (1.1 percent), Transport, Storage & Communication (0.4 percent), Finance & Insurance Services (1.0 percent), Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities (0.3 percent) and Other Services (0.4 percent). Increase in visitor arrivals and increased activities in the restaurant group positively impacted the Hotels & Restaurants industry. Output of the Goods Producing industries declined by 0.9 percent due largely to a 3.6 percent reduction in Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing and a 9.9 percent decline in Mining & Quarrying.
“The performance of the Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing industry was negatively affected by drought conditions in the south central parishes and heavy rainfall in the North Eastern parishes. The Mining & Quarrying industry was affected by operational problems at one of the factories, heavy rainfall and a loss in the market share from the United States of America for crude bauxite. The Manufacturing industry grew by 2.7 percent and Construction by 0.6 percent. Increased output from the Manufacturing industry was influenced mainly by a 5 percent increase in the Food, Beverages & Tobacco sub-industry. The overall growth in the Manufacturing industry was however, tempered by a 3.4 percent fall in petroleum output. The performance of the Construction industry reflected increased activities in the building construction and building installation sub-groups. The industry continued to benefit from the expansion and renovation in the hotel sector,” Statin said.

1.4% GDP growth for Jamaica in 2016

The Jamaican economy grew 1.4 percent for 2016, preliminary estimates by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, (STATIN) the government body charged with gathering and reporting on economic data shows.
The Jamaican economy grew by 1 percent in 2015, recent data from STATIN shows. Since 2004, the closest economic growth came close to the 2016 pace, is in 2007 with 1.45 percent and 2011 with 1.7 percent.
Growth was 1.1 percent for the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to the corresponding period in 2015, representing eighth consecutive quarters of economic growth. “Increased output levels of 0.5 percent in the Services and 3.1 percent in the Goods Producing Industries contributed to the overall growth,” STATIN stated.
Growth was achieved in seven of the eight Services Industries: Electricity & Water (2.0 percent); Wholesale & Retail Trade; Repairs; Installation of Machinery & Equipment (0.2 percent); Hotels & Restaurants (2.5 percent); Transport, Storage & Communication (0.5 percent); Finance & Insurance Services (1.0 percent); Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities (0.3 percent) and Other Services (0.7 percent).
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing, increased by a strong 17.1 percent and Construction by just 0.6 percent. STATIN said “the Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing industry was positively impacted by favourable weather conditions which resulted in higher crop yields, while the Construction industry benefitted from hotel expansion and renovation as well as the construction of office spaces to facilitate the expansion of Business Process Outsourcing activities.
Decreased output was recorded in Manufacturing by 0.2 percent and Mining & Quarrying by 11.9 percent. Manufacturing decline was influenced by a 5.3 percent fall in Other Manufacturing, due largely to lower output levels in petroleum refining. The effect of the decline was tempered by a 4.9 percent rise in Food, Beverages & Tobacco sub – industry. Mining & Quarrying industry continued to be negatively affected by reduced demand for bauxite from the overseas refineries.”

Jamaica’s 2017 inflation to beat 2016 – 1.7%?

Fuel prices at the pumps in May 2015.

Inflation in Jamaica for 2016, fell to the lowest level in decades, with the Consumer Price Index showing inflation rate at just 1.72 percent for the year. The findings were released by Statistical Institute of Jamaica.
The inflation rate for 2017 could be even lower than that of 2016, if the historical patterns repeat. The 2016 out turn compares with 3.7 percent recorded for 2015. The rate for December 2016 was 0.3 percent and is just below the average of fiscal year-to-date movement of 3.1 percent to December 2016.
The rate for 2016 would have been even less, had it not been for increased taxes imposed by the government on a series of items in the first half of the year. The added increase from taxes should not recur in 2017 as revenues are running well ahead of target for the 2017 fiscal year and a pickup in growth should see a healthy increase in revenues for the new fiscal year.
In 2016, inflation in Jamaica, benefited from a continuation in tight fiscal policies, pursued by the government, but it would have been negatively affected by slippage in the exchange rate of the Jamaican dollar versus the US dollar. Moderation in energy prices helped as well.
Going forward, the country should continue to benefit from relatively low energy prices a more stable exchange rate of the Jamaican dollar as foreign exchange inflows remain strong.
Data going back to 2002 suggests that the first two months of the year tend to have flat to negative inflation. In 2015 inflation remained below the December 2014 level until April and just inching ahead in May. In 2016 it remained below the December 2015 level until July.