JIS News

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) has reported an increase of more than 21, 000 new jobs between April and July 2010, indicating economic recovery.
Director General of the PIOJ, Dr. Gladstone Hutchinson, said the increase was due largely to increased employment in the wholesale and retail sector, which went up by 12, 900 persons, and transport, storage and communications, which rose by 8,200 persons.
He was speaking at the PIOJ’s Quarterly Press Briefing, for the period July to September 2010, at the institute, Oxford Road, Kingston on Monday (November 23).
Dr. Hutchinson said this upturn resulted in a positive movement in the net employed labour force, using October 2008, the country’s high point of employment, as a base.
“In April 2010, the net employed labour force contracted by 86, 600 persons, relative to October 2008, however, as of July 2010, the net contraction in the labour force was reduced to 65, 300,” he explained.
“We believe the economy has started to show signs of recovery. There has been a slowing of the rate of decline in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and an uptick in the level of employment between April and July of this year,” the Director General added.
He, however, noted that the impact of several shocks to the economy, including the West Kingston unrest and Tropical Storm Nicole, would have a dampening effect on growth performance for the remainder of the year.
“In terms of our outlook during the October to December quarter, we expect real GDP growth within the range of -0.5 per cent to positive 0.5 per cent,” he also stated.
He said economic activity is expected to be constrained by the continued weak domestic and international demand, in addition to the effect of Tropical Storm Nicole.
He added that most industries are expected to record declines, with agriculture, forestry and fishery projected to record the strongest contraction, primarily due to Tropical Storm Nicole.
At the same time, Dr. Hutchinson noted that the mining and quarry industry was expected to register strong growth, due to increased crude bauxite production, coupled with higher alumina output associated with the reopening of some alumina plants.
Preliminary data for October 2010 showed that total electricity generation was 7.4 per cent, while total electricity sales declined 2.9 per cent.
He also projected growth in the tourism industry.In tourism, airport arrivals increased by 4.6 per cent and cruise ship passenger arrivals grew by 3.3 per cent. Total bauxite increased by 25.8 per cent in October 2010, reflecting a 23.9 per cent and a 30.8 per cent growth in alumina and crude bauxite production, respectively.

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