In February 2015 there was a 0.7 per cent decline in the All Jamaica ‘All Divisions’ Consumer Price Index which was 221.5. This followed the fall of 0.5 per cent that was recorded for the month of January 2015. The main contributor to the decline was the 3.6 per cent decrease in the index for the division ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ resulting from lower rates for electricity and water. Within this division, these movements were tempered by an upward movement in the wages for carpenters, masons, plumbers, painters and electricians during the month. Also contributing to the decline was a 0.6 per cent fall in ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’, the heaviest weighted division. All other divisions recorded movements of below 0.5 per cent.
The Producer Price Index (PPI) for the Mining & Quarrying industry for the month of February, increased by 0.9 per cent. The Producer Price Index for the Manufacturing industry increased by 1.6 per cent for the same period under review. The three highest weighted major groups within the industry recorded positive movements in their index. ‘Food, Beverages & Tobacco’ moved up by 0.4 per cent, ‘Refined Petroleum Products’ up by 8.8 per cent and ’Chemicals & Chemical Products’ rose by 0.5 per cent.
Total value added at constant prices for the Jamaican economy recorded a decline of 0.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014 when compared to the similar quarter of 2013. This reduction in output was due mainly to a 3.9 per cent decline in the Goods Producing industries. The Services industries however, recorded an increase of 0.8 per cent. When compared to the third quarter in 2014, the economy grew by 0.6 per cent. Preliminary estimates for the calendar year 2014 indicated a growth of 0.4 per cent.
The count of the population based on the Population and Housing Census 2011 is 2,697,983. This total comprises 2,678,629 persons in private dwellings, 18,420 in institutions and 934 persons enumerated on the streets.
In October 2014, the number of persons in the Labour Force was 1,310,700, an increase of 6,200 (0.5%) above the 1,304,500 recorded in October 2013. The male labour force increased by 3,500 (0.5%) from 713,500 in October 2013 to 717,000 persons in October 2014 and the female labour force increased by 2,700(0.5%) moving from 591,000 in October 2013 to 593,700 persons in October 2014.
Jamaica’s expenditure on merchandise imports during January to December 2014 fell by US$291.6 million or 4.8 per cent to US$5,838.2 million when compared to 2013. Earnings from total exports fell by US$128.4 million or 8.1 per cent to US$1,452.0 million. As a result, the trade deficit at the end of the 2014 review period stood at US$4,386.2 million, decreasing by 3.6 per cent or US$163.0 million when compared to the similar 2013 period.
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