The inflation rate, as recorded by the All Jamaica ‘All Divisions’ Consumer Price Index increased by 0.2 per cent in April 2015. Impacting the index for this month were upward movements in the index for the divisions ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ 0.5 per cent, ‘Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco’ 1.3 per cent and Transport 1.1 per cent. These movements were however contained by the fall in the index for the division ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’, of 2.2 per cent. All groups within that division had increases with the exception of the group ‘Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ which fell by 4.6 per cent. This resulted mainly from lower fuel rates, as well as an appreciation of the Jamaican dollar. Despite a new tariff for electricity approved by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) which resulted in higher rates for electricity, as well as a change in the Base Exchange rate.
The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) Latest news release reveals that the Producer Price Index for the month of March 2015 rose by 0.4 per cent for the Mining & Quarrying industry. This movement was influenced mainly by the major group ‘Bauxite Mining & Alumina Processing’. The index for the Manufacturing industry rose by 0.2 per cent following a 1.6 per cent increase for the previous month. The major groups that contributed to the movement in the industry’s index were, ‘Food, Beverages and Tobacco’ up by 0.5 per cent ‘Chemicals and Chemical Products’ up by 0.2 per cent and ‘Fabricated Metal Products’ increasing by 2.1 per cent. However these movements were tempered by a 0.7 per cent decline in the index for the major group ‘Refined Petroleum Products’.
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 January 2015, the number of persons in the Labour Force was 1,320,800, which was 15,700 (1.2%) higher than the 1,305,100 recorded in January 2014. The male labour force increased by 3,900 (0.5%) from 716,500 in January 2014 to 720,400 in January 2015, and the female labour force increased by 11,800 (2.0%) moving from 588,600 persons in January 2014 to 600,400 in January 2015.
Total expenditure on imports during the month of January 2015 were valued at US$401.6 million compared to US$461.6 million in January 2014. This represented a 13.0 per cent or US$60.0 million reduction in the value of imports. Total exports in January 2015 fell by 6.5 per cent or US$7.8 million to US$112.4 million. As a result the trade deficit for January 2015 narrowed by US$52.2 million or 15.3 per cent to US$289.2 million when compared to US$341.4 million in the corresponding 2014 period.
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