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  • Director General at Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), Carol Coy highlights the importance of statistics and surveys.

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) has underscored the importance of statistics and surveys particularly in relation to economic growth and national development.

Speaking with JIS News, Director General at STATIN, Carol Coy, pointed out that the information provided from the surveys assist in producing publications highlighting living conditions; national income and product; the labour force; quarterly gross domestic product (GDP); demographic statistics; and employment and earnings.

“The Government needs information in order to assess the success of its economic and social policies and to make changes where necessary. It also needs to know which sectors in the economy can drive growth and to see if it is meeting its GDP and inflation targets,” she added.

Miss Coy noted that statistics are also vital in market analyses and guiding business investment decisions.

The Director General informed that over the years, STATIN has expanded the range of statistics that it provides. Among them is the Consumer Price Index, produced on the 15th of every month, which measures the movement in consumer prices.

There is also the System of National Accounts, which provides information on the country’s GDP; labour force statistics, which track employment and unemployment; and the population and housing census done every 10 years, which provides information on the size of the population in areas such as age, sex, religion and education.

“We have also expanded in providing environment statistics on Jamaica; information on the information and communications technology sector…we partner with the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) every year to produce the Survey of Living Conditions and at intervals, we do ad hoc surveys to look at the economic and social conditions of the people of Jamaica,” the Director General outlined.

One ad hoc survey that STATIN field officers are currently conducting is the Jamaica Survey of Establishments (JSE), in order to collect basic information on the number and types of business entities in operation.

Data to be captured by the JSE include the location of businesses, their structure, the gender and categories of employees, their use of technology and alternative energy, access to financing and the challenges faced.

The data will be used to inform economic planning, market analysis, investment and production decisions and benchmarking of economic statistics.

Another major survey undertaken by STATIN is the household expenditure survey (HES), which is used to revise the weights for the CPI and is conducted every five to 10 years.

The survey collects information on the amount households spend on consumer goods and services such as food, education, health, transportation, recreation and communication.
Data obtained is critical to the decision-making processes in public and private entities and will determine the general pattern of expenditure throughout the economy.

It is also integral to the review of pensions, calculation of electricity rates, computation of wages and salaries as well as socio-economic policy formulation and other decision-making processes.

All statistics can be accessed at the agency’s website at www.statinja.gov.jm.

“We want to remind or reassure Jamaicans that the information that they provide is confidential under the Statistics Act and we cannot provide this to any other party whether Government or outside…we also want to encourage persons to continue to support our surveys as this is what allows us to provide the information necessary for the growth and development of our country,” Miss Coy said.

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