Published:Wednesday | January 6, 2021 | 12:15 AMNeville Graham/Business Reporter

January 2020 would have opened with some amount of optimism about the Jamaican economy. At that time, the economy would have completed 19 consecutive quarters of growth before registering a flat three months to December 2019, as the country’s economic planning authority, the Planning Institute of Jamaica, PIOJ, underscored.

Aggregate production was about to nosedive on the back of the unfolding coronavirus pandemic, at that time, still on the cusp of sweeping across the globe.

In the first quarter of 2020, gross domestic product, GDP, declined by 2.3 per cent when compared to the similar quarter of 2019, after an initial minus 1.7 per cent projection. Statin, the country’s statistical agency, says this was the result of declines in both the services and goods-producing industries of 2.5 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively. Mining and quarrying registered a significant fall-off of 37 per cent, with the closure of the JISCo alumina plant and lower production at Jamalco sending alumina production down by nearly 40 per cent. Crude bauxite production fell by 23.4 per cent.