The Economy of Jamaica

The Economy of Jamaica

Jamaican Economy

Economy - overview: The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which now account for more than 60% of GDP. The country continues to derive most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina. Remittances account for nearly 20% of GDP and are equivalent to tourism revenues. Jamaica's economy, already saddled with the lowest economic growth in Latin America, will face increasing difficulties as the global economy slows. The economy faces serious long-term problems: a sizable merchandise trade deficit, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of almost 130%. Jamaica's onerous debt burden - the fourth highest per capita - is the result of government bailouts to ailing sectors of the economy, most notably the financial sector in the mid-to-late 1990s, and hinders government spending on infrastructure and social programs as debt servicing accounts for nearly half of government expenditures. Inflation rose sharply in 2008 as a result of high prices for imported food and oil and should fall in 2009 with the decline in international oil prices. High unemployment exacerbates the serious crime problem, including gang violence that is fueled by the drug trade. The GOLDING administration faces the difficult prospect of having to achieve fiscal discipline in order to maintain debt payments while simultaneously attacking a serious and growing crime problem that is hampering economic growth.


GDP - real growth rate: -0.6% (2008 est.) 1.5% (2007 est.) 2.4% (2006 est.)

GDP - per capita:

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 5.2% industry: 32.9% services: 61.8% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.1% highest 10%: 35.8% (2004)

Distribution of family income - Gini index: 45.5 (2004)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

Labor force: 1.261 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 17% industry: 19% services: 64% (2006)

Unemployment rate: 10.1% (2008 est.)

Budget: revenues: $4.166 billion expenditures: $4.838 billion (2008 est.)

Industries: tourism, bauxite/alumina, agro processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products, telecommunications

Industrial production growth rate: 1.5% (2008 est.)

Electricity - production: 7.04 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - production by source:

Electricity - consumption: 6.1 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)

Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - consumption: 73,370 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil - exports: 1,535 bbl/day (2005)

Oil - imports: 71,280 bbl/day (2005)

Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Agriculture - products: sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, yams, ackees, vegetables; poultry, goats, milk; crustaceans, mollusks

Exports: $2.569 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities: alumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals, wearing apparel, mineral fuels

Exports - partners: US 37.2%, Canada 15%, UK 9.7%, Netherlands 9.1% (2007)

Imports: $7.191 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities: food and other consumer goods, industrial supplies, fuel, parts and accessories of capital goods, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials

Imports - partners: US 37.2%, Trinidad and Tobago 14.5%, Grenada 9.7%, Venezuela 8.3%, Brazil 4.2% (2007)

Debt - external: $10.38 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:


Currency code:

Exchange rates: Jamaican dollars (JMD) per US dollar - 72.236 (2008 est.), 69.034 (2007), 65.768 (2006), 62.51 (2005), 61.197 (2004)

Fiscal year:

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