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Most Jamaicans believe the economy has improved under JLP - RJRGLEANER Don Anderson poll


Source: RadioJamaica News

Image caption: Don Anderson - file photo

The Andrew Holness-led administration continues to get the approval of Jamaicans for its handling of the economy, with most saying the economy has improved since 2016.


However, the latest RJRGLEANER Don Anderson poll findings show that many also believe their own personal situation has not improved.


The poll was conducted from July 23 to August 3 among 1,071 Jamaicans islandwide.


The Jamaica Labour Party came to power in 2016 with plans to grow the economy by five per cent in four years.


It has failed to meet that target.


However, it kept the economy steady, over 14 consecutive quarters until the January to March quarter when Jamaica's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by an estimated 1.7 per cent.


When Pollster Don Anderson asked Jamaicans whether they thought the economy has improved in the last four and a half years, more than six out of  every 10 persons said it had. 


"The data indicates that 65 per cent of the 1,071 persons that we interviewed felt that the economy had improved, whereas the other 34 per cent said 'no, we don't believe that the economy has improved since 2016,'" Mr. Anderson revealed.  


The result is an improvement on the findings when a similar question was asked in February.


At that time, 57 per cent were of the view it had improved, 32 per cent said it had not, while 11 per cent were not sure or did not know.


While most persons believe the economy has improved, Mr. Anderson said many do not think the benefits have trickled down to them. 


"Views were evenly distributed with 50.1 per cent saying, 'yes, I believe my personal situation has improved,' as against 49.9 per cent, who said, 'no, my personal situation has not improved.' So despite the fact that there is the view that the economy overall has been improved, persons are ambivalent on the extent to which or whether or not their personal financial situation had improved," he said. 


More than seven out of every ten persons polled said their finances have been impacted by COVID-19. 


"Not surprisingly, 78.6 per cent of all persons that we interviewed said COVID has negatively impacted their own personal financial situation, whereas the balance, 21.4 per cent said, 'well, it has actually made things better for me,'"Mr. Anderson outlined.  



Tourism for economic recovery 


In the meantime, most Jamaicans believe tourism is the sector that will lead Jamaica's economic recovery from COVID-19.


The sector was hard hit after the pandemic resulted in the closure of borders and grounding of airlines as well as halt in the cruise industry.


Many of Jamaica's hotels and guest houses were forced to close and lay off  thousands of workers.


Some 63 per cent of persons surveyed said they felt the tourism sector was most affected by COVID-19 and most said it was the sector which would lead the recovery.


According to Mr. Anderson, 60.5 per cent of persons believe tourism will be the main sector to drive the economic recovery. Entertainment received 7.7 per cent of the vote, agriculture 5.5 per cent and the financial sector also 5.5 per cent. Another 4.9 per cent said manufacturing would lead the economic recovery while 3.9 per cent said transportation. 

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