JIS News

State Minister for Labour and Social Security, Hon. Andrew Gallimore, says that the just-released Productivity Summary Report 1972-2007 is a call for Jamaican workers to begin maximizing their time on the job.
He noted that although the report shows productivity levels continuously declining over the 35-year period, “the contents of this document in no way shape or form predict what we do in the future. That is left to us”.
Mr. Gallimore was speaking today (November 5) at the launch of the report compiled by the Jamaica Productivity Centre (JPC) at the Ministry in Kingston. This is the first time the report is being published, providing historical growth rates and levels for value-added output, employment, hours worked, wage rate, unit labour cost and labour productivity.
The report states that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by only 0.5 per cent between 1973 and 2007. During that period, labour productivity or output per worker declined at an average annual rate of 1.3 per cent. This annual percentage rate of decline increased to 1.8 per cent between 2003 and 2007.
Mr. Gallimore said the report will give the country a clear picture of current realities and will help Jamaicans to focus on achieving specific goals, without which, he said, the country will “wander aimlessly”.
“As a nation, we need to look at the productivity statistics and we need to weigh them with the same level of relevance. We need to anticipate them, we need to give them the same weight that we give the other economic indicators,” he argued, noting that Jamaicans should show the same concern about productivity levels as they do about inflation and the value of the Jamaican dollar.
Member of the Board of the JPC, Dr. Peter-John Gordon, also emphasised the importance of productivity levels to the development of a country, saying the output per worker has to be increased if the country is to experience an improved standard of living.
“Falling labour productivity implies that workers in Jamaica are becoming poorer in a real sense. Jamaican output is becoming less competitive relative to the output of other countries,” he pointed out.
A decline in productivity, he further argued, means that “the opportunity for expanding output from Jamaica, either for exports or to compete on the local market, is being retarded. This restricts the ability of the economy to absorb additional workers and to pay them a decent wage”.
A closer look at the statistics showed that mining and quarrying had the highest level of productivity for a significant number of the years under review, while construction and installation, wholesale and retailing, hospitality and agriculture were among the least productive sectors.
Chairman of the Board of the JPC, Mr. Joseph Matalon, informed that the Centre is hoping to be able to produce quarterly productivity reports in the future.

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