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Jamaica Economy Profile 2019

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Economy - overview

The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which accounts for more than 70% of GDP. The country derives most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina. Earnings from remittances and tourism each account for 14% and 20% of GDP, while bauxite/alumina exports have declined to less than 5% of GDP.

Jamaica's economy has grown on average less than 1% a year for the last three decades and many impediments remain to growth: a bloated public sector which crowds out spending on important projects; high crime and corruption; red-tape; and a high debt-to-GDP ratio. Jamaica, however, has made steady progress in reducing its debt-to-GDP ratio from a high of almost 150% in 2012 to less than 110% in 2017, in close collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The current IMF Stand-By Agreement requires Jamaica to produce an annual primary surplus of 7%, in an attempt to reduce its debt burden below 60% by 2025.

Economic growth reached 1.6% in 2016, but declined to 0.9% in 2017 after intense rainfall, demonstrating the vulnerability of the economy to weather-related events. The HOLNESS administration therefore faces the difficult prospect of maintaining fiscal discipline to reduce the debt load while simultaneously implementing growth inducing policies and attacking a serious crime problem. High unemployment exacerbates the crime problem, including gang violence fueled by advanced fee fraud (lottery scamming) and the drug trade.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$26.06 billion (2017 est.)
$25.89 billion (2016 est.)
$25.51 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)
$14.77 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
0.7% (2017 est.)
1.5% (2016 est.)
0.9% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$9,200 (2017 est.)
$9,200 (2016 est.)
$9,100 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving
18.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
20.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
18% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 81.9% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 13.7% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 21.3% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0.1% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 30.1% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -47.1% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 7% (2017 est.)
industry: 21.1% (2017 est.)
services: 71.9% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
17.1% (2016 est.)
Labor force
1.348 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 16.1%
industry: 16%
services: 67.9% (2017)
Unemployment rate
12.2% (2017 est.)
12.8% (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 24.1%
male: 20.1%
female: 29.2% (2018 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 29.3% (2015)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
35 (2016)
38 (2015)
Budget
revenues: 4.382 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 4.314 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
29.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
0.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt
101% of GDP (2017 est.)
113.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
4.4% (2017 est.)
2.3% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate
3.25% (31 December 2017)
3% (31 December 2016)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
14.91% (31 December 2017 est.)
16.49% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$3.55 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.427 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$3.55 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.427 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$7.326 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$7.382 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$8.393 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.715 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.38 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Agriculture - products
sugar cane, bananas, coffee, citrus, yams, ackees, vegetables; poultry, goats, milk; shellfish
Industries
agriculture, mining, manufacture, construction, financial and insurance services, tourism, telecommunications
Industrial production growth rate
0.9% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$679 million (2017 est.)
-$381 million (2016 est.)
Exports
$1.296 billion (2017 est.)
$1.195 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
alumina, bauxite, chemicals, coffee, mineral fuels, waste and scrap metals, sugar, yams
Exports - partners
US 39.1%, Netherlands 12.3%, Canada 8.4% (2017)
Imports
$5.151 billion (2017 est.)
$4.169 billion (2016 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 40.6%, Colombia 6.8%, Japan 5.8%, China 5.8%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.7% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$3.781 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.719 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external
$14.94 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$10.24 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$15.03 billion (2016)
$10.86 billion (2010)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
$604 million (2016)
$176 million (2010)
Exchange rates
Jamaican dollars (JMD) per US dollar -
128.36 (2017 est.)
125.14 (2016 est.)
125.126 (2015 est.)
116.898 (2014 est.)
110.935 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
1 April - 31 March

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on December 7, 2019