Economic signs positive — PIOJ

Friday, November 17, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) Dr Wayne Henry says the economic signs remain positive, with the general buoyancy reflected through increased industrial activities and employment, among things.

Dr Henry was speaking at the quarterly media briefing at the agency's New Kingston head office on Wednesday, November 15, where he announced gross domestic product (GDP) growth of by 0.9 per cent for the July to September quarter.

Dr Henry pointed out that the gains made means the country has not entered a recession, despite a 0.1 per cent contraction in economic activity during the April to June quarter.

This out-turn represents the official figure released by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) on the economy's performance for the quarter.

It reflects STATIN's updating of the PIOJ's preliminary growth estimate of 0.3 per cent, reported in August.

Dr Henry said the contraction resulted from the negative impact of flood rains on the economy between March and May this year.

He explained that the PIOJ's estimates for each quarter are based on initial information available from data providers.

The Director General pointed out that this release of preliminary data is consistent with developments in all modern economies globally “where it is common practice to release a first, second and even a third (set of) preliminary estimates before the final official figure is released”.

Dr Henry said the figures, albeit preliminary, are used by various stakeholders, including Jamaica's international development partners, the private sector and Government “to inform critical planning and policy-related decisions”.

“In the case of Jamaica, the PIOJ releases the preliminary growth estimates within the first six weeks following the quarter, and STATIN releases the official GDP figures at the end of the third month following the end of the quarter being reviewed.

“So, the preliminary (June to September quarter) estimates (of 0.9 per cent) were presented today, and the (official) data will be released by STATIN at the end of December 2017,” he outlined.

Dr Henry explained that recession is defined as a business cycle contraction, reflective of a general slowing down of economic activity.

“Macroeconomic indicators, such as GDP, investment spending, capacity utilisation, household income and business profits, fall while bankruptcies and unemployment rise.

“However, as a rule of thumb, albeit incomplete, recessions are generally defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, as measured by the seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter figures for real GDP,” he pointed out.

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