01.03.01. Strength of the economy | Jamaica

01.03.01. Strength of the economy | Jamaica

24 Sep 2022

Jamaica’s GDP was estimated at $14.77 billion (official exchange rate), while the GDP – per capita (PPP) for the same year was estimated at $9,200.00 (CIA, 2019). According to the CIA World Factbook (2019), Jamaica’s economic growth reached 1.6% in 2016, but declined to 0.9% in 2017 following intense rainfall, which affected infrastructure and productivity. Economic growth is further impeded by the high unemployment rate which exacerbates the crime problem, along with gang violence fuelled by advanced fee fraud (lottery scamming) and the drug trade. The slow economic growth rate of on average less than 1% per year for the last three decades has also been accredited to high public sector corruption, bureaucracy, and high debt to GDP ratio.

However, the most recent Fiscal Policy Paper 2020-2021, reports that Jamaica has significantly improved under the IMF-supported Extended Fund Facility and Precautionary Stand-by programmes. Notably, Jamaica’s real GDP growth rate by the end of fiscal year 2017/2019 (Government of Jamaica, 2020). Growth is projected to be at .6% in 2020/2021.

Despite this growth and favourable projection, the economy is currently impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) projects that for fiscal year 2019/2020, growth of the Jamaican economy will decline by 0.6% in light of COVID-19 (PIOJ, 2020).


CIA World Factbook. (2019). Jamaica. https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/jamaica/

Government of Jamaica. (2020). Fiscal Policy Paper 2020-2021. Ministry of Finance and the Public Service. Available from: https://www.mof.gov.jm/wp-content/uploads/fiscal-policy-paper-2020-21-140220.pdf

Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ). (2020). The Planning Institute of Jamaica’s Review of Economic Performance, January–March 2020. Media Brief, May 27th, 2020. https://www.pioj.gov.jm/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/DGs_QPB_244-speaking-notes-revised-27-5-20-FINAL_1.pdf