Economy declined by 2.3 % in first quarter

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The Jamaican economy declined by 2.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 when compared to the similar quarter of 2019.

That was the announcement made yesterday by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) in a release.

In the release STATIN said the 2.3 per cent decline of the economy was the result of declines in both the services and goods- producing industries of 2.5 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively.

The performance of the economy was negatively impacted by the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the measures adopted by the Government to limit its spread.

The services industries declined due to reduced activities in wholesale and retail trade, repairs, installation of machinery and equipment (1.3%); hotels and restaurants (14.1 %); transport, storage and communication (2.5 %); finance and insurance services (1.2 %); and other services (3.2 %).

However, electricity and water; real estate, renting and business activities; and the producers of Government services grew by 2.1 per cent, 0.2 per cent and 0.2 per cent, respectively.

The performance of the hotels and restaurants industry was due to declines in the groups: hotels and other short-stay accommodation, and restaurants, bars and canteens. The group hotels and other short-stay accommodation was impacted by a 19.1 per cent decrease in foreign national arrivals due largely to travel restrictions imposed by the Government in March 2020 to limit the transmission of COVID-19.

In the goods-producing industries, lower levels of output were recorded in mining and quarrying (35.8 %), and construction (3.3 %). Agriculture, forestry, fishing and manufacturing grew by 7.8 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively.

The decline in the mining and quarrying industry was due to lower production of alumina and bauxite resulting from the closure of the JISCO Alpart refinery.

The fall in construction was due to reduced activities in all subgroups.

The manufacturing industry’s performance was largely attributed to an increase in the sub-industries of food, beverages and tobacco (0.1%) and other manufacturing (5.3%).

Relative to the fourth quarter of 2019, the economy declined by 1.8 per cent. This was the result of a 2.5 per cent decrease in the services industries and a 0.7 per cent growth in the goods producing industries.

The economy declined by 0.1 per cent in the fiscal year 2019-2020 compared to the fiscal year 2018-2019.