KINGSTON, Jamaica (Tuesday, November 2, 2021) — Recovery from the ravages of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is gathering pace, as evidenced by the recent positive economic indicators, claimed Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Nigel Clarke.
He cited, among other things, the 14.2 percent growth for April to June, and the 93,400 increase in the number of persons in jobs in July.
Dr. Clarke said that the growth out-turn for the June 2021 quarter, “came in, way above what anybody would have forecasted, thought or expected”.
He noted that while it does not recover all the lost output, “it substantially [advances] the likelihood of that”.
Dr. Clarke explained that the best part about the recovery is that “the jobs are returning”, describing this development as a “big deal”.
Recalling that Jamaica lost approximately 100,000 jobs, over four years, following the 2008/09 global financial crisis, he said “it took us 10 years to get those jobs back”.
“We lost approximately 150,000 jobs in the pandemic, over four months in 2020, and in 12 months, we have gotten just under 100,000 of those back, which is surely a sign that the economic recovery is gathering pace… it is here,” the Minister announced.
“Jamaica is among the leaders in the Caribbean region, as far as the strength, pace and momentum of our economic recovery [is concerned],” he added.
While acknowledging that Jamaica had not yet returned to pre-COVID economic performance, he maintained that “there is reason for cautious optimism, as we go forward”.
“Notwithstanding the challenges we have had, with vaccine hesitancy and other challenges with vaccine supply, economic recovery in Jamaica is under way, and it’s under way in an unmistakable fashion,” Dr. Clarke affirmed.
He pointed out that leading international agency, S&P Global Ratings, upgraded its outlook for Jamaica, from ‘Negative’ to ‘Stable’, “in the midst of the pandemic, with a low vaccination rate”.
“So, today, Jamaica has a credit rating… that is effectively unchanged from our pre-pandemic credit rating, which says a lot,” the Minister added.
Dr. Clarke maintained that the recovery is showing up where it matters most, “and that is with people having an income in their pockets, once again, in exchange for the work that they put out”.
“It is this concept of inclusiveness that we want to continue to emphasise, and we want to characterise our economic recovery, not just in the short term, but across the medium term,” he added.
Dr. Clarke made his comments, while addressing the Insurance Association of Jamaica (IAJ) semi-virtual micro-insurance conference — under the theme ‘Micro-insurance – The Jamaica Perspective’ — at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, recently.