Remittances rise to pre-crisis levels
JAMAICAN overseas workers remitted record amounts in 2013 amidst fewer outflows, according to just released Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) data.
It resulted in net remittances hitting US$1.8 billion or 2.8 per cent higher year on year.
"Notably, remittance inflows for the calendar year were marginally above the corresponding pre-crisis out-turn for 2008," stated the BOJ which compiles official data on this sector which rivals tourism as the highest foreign exchange earner for the island.
Between January and December 2013 remittance inflows at US$2.06 billion or 1.1 per cent higher while outflows totalled US$240 million or 10 per cent lower over the period. Its the second consecutive year that inflows beat US$2.02 billion which represented the pre-crisis out-turn in 2008.
The BOJ attributed the rise to Jamaicans receiving higher wages at overseas-based resorts and hotels. The BOJ indicated that this sector languished for years with static wages.
"The remittance inflows to Jamaica show some congruence with trends in earnings in key sectors in which Jamaican workers are employed in the US," the BOJ stated. "The upward trend in growth in the average weekly earnings in the leisure and hospitality sector has co-moved with the pickup in gross remittances recorded for 2013."
Inflows could have been higher were it not for a decline in remittances from workers in the education sector.
"On the other hand, whereas the relationship with the education and health sectors was fairly strong prior to 2013, this relationship seems to have weakened over the review year," stated the BOJ.
Remittances from USA totalled US$1.2 billion or 2.3 per cent higher year on year; UK remittances totalled US$326 million or 3.8 per cent less than year earlier levels, Canada totalled 246 or 1.8 per cent higher and Cayman Islands flat at US$123 million.