#Jamaica, May 29, 2018 – Kingston – The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is anticipating further reduction in the country’s poverty rate, which declined from 21.1 per cent in 2015 to 17.1 in 2016. The decline, reported in the Statistical Institute of Jamaica’s (STATIN) Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions, represents a 19 per cent drop in the incidence of poverty, the largest annual reduction in 10 years.
Director General, Dr. Wayne Henry, said the projection for even further decline is based on government policies, which have accelerated job creation.
“We have seen where the lead industries are driving the jobs (that) are being created… and we know this augurs well for the overall economy. This is what we want to continue to see happening, where we build a resilient environment for business as well as a climate-resilient environment. So for us, it (prospect of further poverty reduction) is very encouraging,” he added. Dr. Henry was speaking at the PIOJ’s quarterly media briefing at the Institute’s head office in New Kingston on May 22.
STATIN’s Labour Force Survey for January 2018 shows that the number of persons employed increased by 22,600 to 1,206,600. This is despite a decrease in the labour force by 21,200 to 1,335,100 persons.
The industries recording the largest increases in employment were the wholesale and retail trade, up 7,900 persons; construction, up 7,300 persons; hotels and restaurants, up 6,400; and other community, social and personal service activities, up 3,900 persons.
Senior Director for the PIOJ’s Economic Planning, Research and Policy Logistics Division, James Stewart, emphasised that “most of the decline in unemployment has been (occurring) since 2017 into 2018. So going forward, that is when we are expecting to see a sharper decline in the poverty rate”.
Meanwhile, Dr. Henry said that the Institute will be examining the “multidimensional nature” of poverty through the Poverty Reduction Policy, launched earlier this year.
“So, it’s more than just people working; you are looking at conditions that lead to persistent poverty and to empower, in terms of the households, to lift them out of poverty… hence the need for social protection and economic empowerment in a more targeted way,” he explained.