No Great Gains from Changing Economic Growth Measurement Methods

Two business leaders say they don’t expect the government’s intention to change the way it measures economic growth, will make much of a difference.

Finance Minister Audley Shaw revealed yesterday, that the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is using outdated data to calculate growth. He says they’re using 1998 as their base year, while most developed countries are basing their statistics on the year 2008.

But CEO of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica, Dennis Chung, says he doesn’t believe changing the base year will really make a difference.

Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee, EPOC, Keith Duncan, also says the impact will be marginal.

However, he agrees with Minister Shaw that it needs to be updated.

Duncan says there are benefits to updating how we measure the economy.

Meanwhile, Mr. Duncan says the recent decline in the agriculture sector was expected.

The decline has resulted in a contraction of the overall economy. There are fears this contraction will continue for a second consecutive quarter.

However, Duncan notes that the decline follows high growth in the previous year, which may have made it seem worse.