Despite the economy contracting by 8.3 per cent for the October to December 2020 quarter, relative to the corresponding period in 2019, Jamaica continues to show signs of recovering from the resulting fallout precipitated by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
This analysis is based on the review of the latest key indicators, undertaken by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN).
Speaking during STATIN’s digital quarterly briefing on Thursday (April 15), Director General, Carol Coy, said the December 2020 quarter contraction was primarily due to an 11.1 per cent decline in the services industry.
Ms. Coy said, however, that the goods producing industry grew by 0.2 per cent, adding that when compared with the July to September 2020 quarter, the economy grew by 0.9 per cent during the review period.
She pointed out that the December 2020 out-turn represented “a continuation of the third quarter’s growth relative to the second (April to June) quarter of 2020”.
STATIN indicated that despite the economy contracting by 10.7 per cent in the September 2020 quarter, this was an 8.3 percentage point improvement on the out-turn for the preceding period.
The Director General indicated that the figure for December 2020, like the previous period, was influenced by the relaxation of some of the measures instituted by the Government since March 2020 to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Ms. Coy said all except one of the five services industry subsectors contracted during the review period.
The biggest declines were recorded by hotels & restaurants, down 53.8 per cent; transport, storage and communication, down 10.4 per cent; wholesale and retail trade, repairs, installation of machinery and equipment, down 8.8 per cent; and other services, inclusive of engagements in the creative industries, down 21.6 per cent.
Producers of government services, with a 0.2 per cent out-turn, was the sole subsector recording growth.
Ms. Coy said two of the four goods producing industries, construction and mining and quarrying, grew by 6.3 per cent each.
She pointed out, however, that agriculture, forestry and fishing, and manufacturing fell by 7.2 and 0.4 per cent respectively, relative to 2019, while noting that the decline in the former largely resulted from heavy rainfall in October and November.
The Director General said 2020 calendar year growth fell by 9.9 per cent, largely reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.
Ms. Coy indicated that this was most evident in the services industry, which contracted by 11.8 per cent, with the goods producing industry falling by 4.8 per cent.