26/06/2018 – Jamaica Gleaner. / THE EDITOR, Sir:
Martin Henry’s article in The Sunday Gleaner of June 24, 2018 (‘Measuring the economy’) touched on a topic that I am most passionate about. On the matter of the trade deficit. Jamaica (and the US) focuses on the trade in tangible goods, yet ignoring the trade in intangibles such as service. It is pointless to quote the tangible goods while ignoring the other.
On the matter of the underground and other economies that are not counted, it is instructive to look at the case of Nigeria. Sometime ago (five years?), there was a major restating of the size of its economy. The result was that the Nigerian economy was deemed to be much larger than was thought and was determined to be larger than South Africa’s.
The reports coming from Jamaica suggest that there is significant job growth, but lacklustre economic growth. Many times I have read of jobless growth in the US and elsewhere. Economists seem to be OK with ‘robust’ jobless growth. I believe the growth that matters most to the ordinary citizen is the growth in jobs.
I am also concerned about the data on the Jamaican economy as well. Each year I try to get a copy of the Economic and Social Survey. (Very hard to get print copies; however, CDs are available).
There are many concerns about the economic statistics from Jamaica. Somehow the numbers do not all seem to be in harmony. Is this a sign of a systemic problem that has been there all along?
NEVILLE ST.L. REID