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Jamaica Jamaica

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Jamaica – Quick View
ECR score29.02 (Mar 2011)
ECR rank138 (Mar 2011)
GDP (2009)USD 12.06 billion
GNI per capita PPP (2010)USD 7,207
FDI inflow (2009)USD 540.9 million
Inflation (2010)11.7%
Central bank assets (March 2011)USD 4,766.45 million
Unemployment rate (2010)12.38%
Government deficit (2009-2010)USD 1,343.16 million
Tax revenue (2010)USD 3,017 million
Government typeParliamentary Democracy
Recent political crisisNA
Economic freedom score (2011)58th
Freedom of information score (2010)25th
Corruption perception index (2010)87th
Birth rate (2009)16.33 per ‘000
Population balance (2010)Under 14 – 28.5%
Population balance (2010)Over 60 males – 10.1%
Population balance (2010)Over 60 females – 11.1%
Life expectancy years (2005-2010)Male - 68.5 years
Life expectancy years (2005-2010)Female - 75.2 years
Mortality rate (2009)6.51 per ‘000
Literacy rate (2003-2008)86%
Internet access (2010)55.50%

[Top] Economic Overview

The economy of Jamaica is service sector dependent, the sector contributes more than 60% of the GDP. The main exports of Jamaica are bauxite, alumina, garments, sugar and bananas.

(Source: BBC)

Gross domestic product (GDP)


The GDP at market prices was JMD 1,083.45 billion in 2009, as compared to JMD 1,009.67 billion in 2008.


Jamaica GDP and growth rate

(Source: National Statistics)

The GDP growth rate in 2009 was -3%, while in 2008 the growth rate was -0.9%. Furthermore, the GDP growth rate has been on the decline since 2006.

(Source: National Statistics)

Jamaica Real GDP growth rate (%)

(Source: National Statistics)

The GDP per capita at market prices in 2009 amounted to JMD 401,932 in 2009, as compared to JMD 375,734 in 2008.

(Source: National Statistics)

Gross National Income (GNI) per capita


The GNI per capita at current prices in 2009 was JMD 382,827 compared to JMD 360,468 in 2008. GNI per capita at PPP in 2010 was USD 7,207 as compared to USD 7,147 in 2005.

(Source: National Statistics, UNDP)

Jamaica GNI per capita, PPP (USD)

(Source: UNDP)

Trade balance


Total merchandise imports for 2010 (Jan-Nov) was USD 4,708.8 million, and for the corresponding period of 2009 was USD 4,560.9 million. Total Merchandise exports for 2010 was USD 1,232.7 million as compared to USD 1,234.8 million in the same period of 2009.

(Source: National Statistics)

Income tax


Income tax on individual incomes in Jamaica is taxed progressively to 35%.


Individual Income Tax rate (JMD)

Tax Slabs

Tax Rate

0 - 441,168


441,169 – 5,000,000


5,000,001 – 10,000,000


Above 10,000,000



Corporate tax

The corporate tax rate in Jamaica is 33.3%.


Inflation rate

Inflation rate in Jamaica, for 2010, was 11.7% increasing from 10.2% in 2009.

Jamaica Inflation rate (Annual %)

(Source: National Statistics)

FDI inflow


In 2009, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows amounted to USD 540.9 million, compared to USD 1,436.6 million in 2008.

(Source: Central Bank of Jamaica)

Banking sector assets

The table below displays the assets of the Central Bank of Jamaica.

Balance Sheet – Assets of Central Bank of Jamaica (JMD million)

End of period

March 2011

March 2010

Total foreign assets



Total local assets



Total assets



(Source: Central Bank of Jamaica)

[Top] Financial Indicators & Government Financial

Consumer price index


The consumer price index in Jamaica is rising steadily, increasing from 97.6 in 2006 to 160.7 in 2010.


Jamaica Consumer Price Index

(Source: National Statistics)

Base month: December 2006 = 100


Interest rates on saving deposits / time deposits


Interest rates %


December 2010

December 2009

December 2008













(Source: Central Bank of Jamaica)

Money supply (currency in circulation)


The total money supply for 2009 was JMD 35,204.7 million.


Money supply (JMD million)




Money Supply (M2)



Money Supply (M1)



Quasi Money



Other Deposits



Total Money Supply (M3)



(Source: Central Bank of Jamaica)

Government expenditure


Government expenditure in Jamaica was JMD 421,458.50 million 2010, increasing from the previous year when it was JMD 351,521 million.

Expenditure of Government of Jamaica (JMD million)







Wages & Salaries






Capital Expenditure & Net Lending



Total Expenditure



(Source: Central Bank of Jamaica)

Official exchange rate

The exchange rate per USD in 2010 was 87.38, as compared to 88.49 in 2009.

Jamaica Exchange rate (JMD/USD)

(Source: Central Bank of Jamaica)

Government finances 

Fiscal balance


The country has recorded fiscal deficits since 1996-97. The fiscal deficit for 2009-10 was JMD 121,265.2 million, compared to JMD 75,321.6 million in 2008-09.

Jamaica Fiscal balance (JMD million)

(Source: Central Bank of Jamaica)


Total revenue

The country's revenue in FY 2010 was recorded at JMD 293,896.6 million, increasing from 268,623.1 which was in 2009.

Revenues of Government of Jamaica (JMD million)


FY 2010

FY 2009

Tax Revenue



Non-Tax Revenue



Bauxite Levy/CD Transfers



Capital Revenue



Total Revenue



(Source: Central Bank of Jamaica)

Tax revenue

Total tax revenue in 2010 was JMD 265,860.20 million, which was an increase over the previous year’s tax revenue of JMD 246,216.60 million.

(Source: Central Bank of Jamaica)

Total grants

Total grants to Jamaica amounted to JMD 6,296.70 million in 2009-10, as compared to JMD 7,576.7 million in 2008-09.

Jamaica Grants (JMD million)

(Source: Central Bank of Jamaica)

Current account balance - surplus/deficit

Jamaica has registered a current account deficit for the past years, which is further expected to continue.

Jamaica Current account balance (% of GDP)


(Source: Central Bank of Jamaica)

Balance of payments

Balance of Payments (USD million)


2010 (Jan to Aug)


Current Account



Capital & Financial Account





(Source: Central Bank of Jamaica)

[Top] Labour Force and Employment Overview

Labour Force


The labour force in Jamaica in 2010 was recorded at 1,239,900 people, of which the employed labour force included 1,091,000 individuals and unemployed were 148,900 individuals. Males constituted 681,500 and females accounted for 558,400 of the total labour force.


The labour force participation rate was 45.9% in 2010. The labour force participation rate in case of males and females was 51.1% and 40.7% respectively.

(Source: National Statistics)

The unemployment rate in the country increased to 12.38% in 2010 from the previous year’s 11.3%. The male unemployment rate was 9.0% and female unemployment was 15.7% in 2010.


Jamaica Unemployment rate (% of total labour force)

(Source: National Statistics)

Minimum wage

The minimum wages in Jamaica for a 19 year old employee or an apprentice is USD 207.3 per month. 


Level of Unionisation


The major trade unions active in the country include:


·         Bustamante Industrial Trade Union

·         National Workers Union

·         Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers

·         Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions

·         Jamaica Civil Service Association

·         Jamaican Union of Public Officers and Public Employers

·         Jamaica Teachers’ Association


[Top] Political Stability

Jamaica operates under a constitutional parliamentary system of government, based on the UK model. The chief of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who appoints a governor general, currently Sir Patrick Allen, as her representative within the country. However, the executive power is in the hands of the cabinet led by the Prime Minister, Bruce Golding of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).  


The country’s parliament is bicameral and includes the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Representatives is comprised of 60 members, who are directly elected for a term of five years. Alternatively, the Senate is comprised of 21 members, who are appointed for a five year term by the Governor General.


The major political parties in the country include:


·         People's National Party (PNP)

·         Jamaica Labour Party (JLP)

·         National Democratic Movement (NDM)


(Source:, IPU)


Regulatory environment in Jamaica


The country’s economic freedom score is 65.7, making its economy the 58th freest in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom. Furthermore, Jamaica ranks 12th out of the 29 countries in the Central and South America/Caribbean region.


Jamaica Economic Freedom Index



Corruption perception


Jamaica’s CPI rankings have improved since 2009, when it was ranked 99th, in 2010 it was ranked at 87th with a score of 3.3, which indicates the perceived levels of corruption have decreased in the country.




Freedom of information

Jamaica is ranked 25th in the World Press Freedom Index 2010 with a score of 7.27, which indicates that media in Jamaica has few restrictions. 




Following are some of the newspapers in the country:


·         Jamaica Gleaner

·         Jamaica Star

·         Jamaica Observer

·         Sunday Herald

(Source: BBC)


Judicial system


The judiciary in Jamaica consists of:


·         Court of Appeal

·         Supreme Court

·         Resident Magistrate's Court

·         Petty Sessions

All appeals against the Supreme Court and the Resident Magistrate’s Court decisions are heard in the Court of Appeal.  The court of appeal consists of a president and six judges.

The Supreme Court has jurisdiction on civil and criminal matters and consists of a Chief Justice, a Senior Puisne Judge and at least twenty other Puisne Judges. The Governor General appoints the Supreme Court judges on the recommendation of the Judicial Services Commission.

The Resident Magistrate’s Court has jurisdiction within a Parish and a mile beyond its boundary line. This Court presides over both civil and criminal matters.

The Petty Session Court is presided over by Justices of the Peace.

(Source: Ministry of Justice)

[Top] Demographic Overview

The total population of Jamaica in 2010 was 2.70 million.

(Source: National Statistics)

The gender ratio in the country is almost balanced, there are about 95.9 males for every 100 females.

Individuals below the age of 14 constitute 28.5% of the total population.

(Source: UN)

Jamaica Population by gender, 2010 (%)


(Source: UN)

Birth and death rate

The birth rate in the year 2009 was 16.33 births per 1,000 people. Alternatively, the death rate was recorded at 6.51 deaths per 1,000 persons. In 2009, total births and total deaths recorded were 44,006 and 17,553 respectively. Furthermore, the mortality rate of infants (per 1,000 live births) was registered at 23.4 for the period of 2005 to 2010.

(Source: National Statistics)

Life expectancy

The average life expectancy in Jamaica for women is 75.2 years and for men it is 68.5 years.

(Source: National Statistics)

Migration and urbanisation

International migrant stock till mid 2010 was recorded at 30,000 individuals, or 1.1% of the entire population.

In 2007, 53% of the population lived in urban areas. From 2005 to 2010 the urban population growth rate was 0.9%, and the rural population grew at a slower rate of 0.1%.

(Source: UN)

Ethnic environment

Ethnic groups in Jamaica include:


·         African

·         East Indian

·         Chinese

·         Others


Africans constitute about 90% of the total population.


Human Development Index (HDI)


The country ranks 80th out of 169 countries on the HDI 2010 conducted by the United Nations. The HDI provides a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: living a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy), being educated (measured by adult literacy and gross enrolment in education) and having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing power parity, PPP, income).

(Source: UNDP)

[Top] Soft Infrastructure

Literacy rate

The country’s literacy rate from 2003 to 2008 was 86%.

(Source: UNICEF)


The 4 main levels of education in Jamaica are:

·         Pre-primary

·         Primary

·         Secondary

·         Higher education

The country doesn’t have free education after the primary level, but children can avail of scholarships.

(Source: spainexchange)


The healthcare sector in Jamaica comes under the supervision of the Ministry of Health. Healthcare recently underwent reform, when the sector was decentralized, the Ministry of Health was restructured at the central level and privatisation was allowed.

Healthcare in Jamaica is free to all citizens at government hospitals and clinics.

According to World Health Organisation statistics, Jamaica had 8.5 physicians per 10,000 people, which was below the regional average and it had 16.5 nurses and midwives per 10,000 people.

(Source:, WHO)

According to the UN statistics, approximately 6% of the current expenditure has been allocated for healthcare between 1998-2008.

(Source: UN)

[Top] Hard Infrastructure

Mass public transit


The transportation in Jamaica is well maintained and systematic. The mass public transport in the country is mainly by roads and railways, but Jamaica also has navigable water ways which are used for commuting.

(Source: Ministry of Transport)



Jamaica has 15,394 km of road network, of which 844 km are arterial roads, 717 km are secondary roads, 3,225 km are tertiary roads and 282 km are urban roads.

(Source: Ministry of Transport)


The rail network in Jamaica is 330 km.

(Source: Ministry of Transport)



The country has total 15 ports:  Port of Black River, Port of Kingston, Port of Lucea,  Port of Morant Bay, Port of Montego Bay , Port of Ocho Rios, Port of Port Antonio, Port of Port Kaiser, Port of Port Royal, Port of Port Esquivel, Port of Port Rhoades, Port of Rio Bueno, Port of Rocky Point, Port of Salt River, and Port of Savanna La Mar.

(Source:world port source)




Airport name

Runway length


Norman Manley Intl

8,900 ft


Tinson Pen

3,400 ft


Tinson Pen

3,000 ft

Montego Bay

Sangster Intl

8,700 ft

Ocho Rios


2,800 ft

Ocho Rios Jamaica


3,000 ft

Port Antonio

Ken Jones

3,200 ft

Port Antonio Jamaica

Ken Jones

3,400 ft

(Source: aircraft charter world)

Telecommunications networks


In 2009, Jamaica had 302,451 fixed landline subscribers and 2,956,061 mobile subscribers. Furthermore, in 2010, the country had 1,581,100 internet users, creating an internet penetration rate of 55.5%.


Jamaica Internet penetration rate (%)


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