Jamaica’s economy contracts 1.7 per cent due to COVID-19

Jamaica’s unbroken run of 20 consecutive quarters without economic contraction has come to an end.

Jamaica’s extended run of quarterly growth ended in the past quarter due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to wreak havoc on economies globally, Jamaica has seen its gross domestic product (GDP) shrink by 1.7 per cent for the March 2020 quarter, ending its near two-year run which saw 19 quarters of growth and one which remained flat.

The news was shared by Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr Wayne Henry, during its digital quarterly briefing yesterday (May 27).

The closure of Jamaica’s air and sea ports to arrivals halted travel and tourist-related activities.

The results, which will need to be ratified by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, largely reflect the impact of measures taken to stem the spread of COVID-19 in mid-March, Henry said. These include the closure of international borders, which halted travel and tourist-related activities; the implementation of curfews which restricted business hours, the closure of all schools, and the implementation of orders to stay at home and work from home.

The outlook for the current quarter, which ends in June 2020, is generally negative with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Henry said the economy is projected to contract between 12 and 14 per cent for the April to June quarter.