The All Jamaica ‘All Divisions’ Consumer Price Index for September 2014 was 225.9. This represented an inflation rate of 2.1 per cent, when compared to the index of 221.3 for August 2014. This upward movement of 2.1 per cent was the highest monthly change recorded since September 2013. The division ‘Transport’ recorded the highest movement of 4.0 per cent, mainly as a result of an increase in the cost of bus fares in the Greater Kingston Metropolitan Area. This was followed by the division ‘Education’, which rose by 3.9 per cent, due to a rise in the cost of tuition fees at the beginning of the new school year. The highest weighted division, ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ recorded an upward movement of 2.9 per cent. This was mainly attributable to the lingering impact of drought conditions island-wide, which resulted in a shortage in supply of some agricultural produce and consequently higher prices.
The Producer Price Index (PPI) for the Mining & Quarrying industry for the month of August recorded an increase of 0.9 per cent. This was mainly influenced by the depreciation of the Jamaican currency in relation to the US currency. The producer prices for the Manufacturing industry registered a negligible movement for the same period under review. This movement was attributable to the major groups; ’Food, Beverages & Tobacco’ recording an increase of 0.1 per cent and ’Chemicals and Chemical Products’ moving up by 1.2 per cent, in their index. This was however tempered by the major group ’Refined Petroleum Products’ which recorded a decline in its index of 1.3 per cent for the second consecutive month.
The Jamaican economy grew by 1.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014 when compared to the similar quarter of 2013. This performance reflected an improvement of 6.3 per cent in output in the Goods Producing industries and a 0.5 per cent increase in the Services industries. When compared to the first quarter of 2014, the economy improved by 1.4 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 April 2014, the number of persons in the Labour Force was 1,311,100, a decrease of 11,300 (0.9%) from the 1,322,400 recorded in April 2013. The male labour force was relatively unchanged from 716,100 persons in April 2013 to 716,000 persons in April 2014. The female labour force decreased by 11,200 (1.9%) from 606,300 in April 2013 to 595,100 in April 2014
Jamaica imported goods valued at US$2,907.3 million during the first six months of 2014, a decrease of US$132.6 million or 4.4 per cent when compared to the same period in 2013. The Jamaica Free Zone imported US$47.7 million. Total exports for the January to June 2014 period amounted to US$728.5 million, down from US$853.9 million recorded for the comparable 2013 period with US$6.4 million from the Jamaica Free Zone. The value of total exports fell by US$125.4 million toUS$728.5 million. Jamaica’s trade deficit was US$2,178.8 million, compared to US$2,186.0 million in the 2013 period a decline of 0.3 per cent.
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