The Jamaica economy is estimated to have grown by 8.1 per cent during the fiscal year 2021/22, reports the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).
Director General, Dr Wayne Henry, said that the out-turn, which falls within the entity’s target range of seven to nine per cent, reflects improved performances in all goods-producing and service industry subsectors, except mining and quarrying, which contracted by an estimated 39.8 per cent.
He noted that the contraction was mainly due to the closure of Jamalco’s alumina plant in Clarendon, which was damaged by fire last August.
Henry said the expansion in economic activity for the fiscal year was spurred, in part, by an estimated six per cent growth for the January to March 2022 quarter.
“This out-turn represented the fourth consecutive quarter of growth and reflected a continuation of the recovery trend, following contractions in the corresponding quarter [in 2021] as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health and social measures implemented to manage its spread,” Henry noted.
He was speaking during the PIOJ’s digital quarterly media briefing on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Henry said growth for 2022/23 is projected within the range of two to five per cent.
“This revised forecast, down from the previous range of three to six per cent, takes into consideration the high degree of uncertainty surrounding unfolding global developments, including the impact of geopolitical developments associated with the Russia-Ukraine war,” he said.
The 2021/22 out-turn was buoyed by estimated growth of 9.6 per cent in the services industry, and three per cent in the goods-producing industry.
The standout subsectors were – ‘Hotels and Restaurants’, up 125 per cent; ‘Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing’, up 11.2 per cent; ‘Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair and Installation of Machinery and Equipment’, up 10.9 per cent; ‘Transport, Storage and Communication’, up 10.1 per cent; and ‘Other Services’, up 14.5 per cent.
“The growth recorded for Fiscal Year 2021/22 is in line with previous projections and supports the expectation for a return to pre-pandemic output levels by FY2023/24,” the PIOJ Director General said.
He noted that the March 2022 quarter’s positive out-turn was fueled by estimated services industry growth of 8.9 per cent, despite the goods-producing industry’s declining by 2.1 per cent.
He further said the performance largely reflected the impact of several factors, among these was increased external demand, especially for Jamaica’s tourism product.
“This was facilitated by a relaxation of public health and social measures, particularly, travel restrictions. This development was reflected in the positive performances for the Transport, Hotels and Restaurants, and Other Services Industries,” he indicated.
Henry also cited increased domestic demand associated with higher levels of employment, and operational hours as more industries gradually returned to normalcy.
“This was particularly evident in the performance of the Agriculture and Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair and Installation of Machinery industries,” he pointed out.
Henry said, however, that several factors tempered further economic growth during the review period.
In addition to the contraction in mining and quarrying, due to the Jamalco plant closure, other factors included a spike in COVID-19 cases globally and locally in January, “which tempered the pace of increase in demand and worsened the supply chain disruption,” he noted.