Jamaica Economics

Trevor Pantekoek, adam Fritz, Lucas Kungel, Austin Schuhmacher
hour 5


Before there were even political parties in Jamaica there was a labor union: the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, formed in 1938 to protect the rights of Jamaican workers. In the 1990s the U.S. State Department estimated union membership in Jamaica's 70 labor unions at around 20 percent of the employed workforce. The government of Jamaica supports workers' rights conventions promoted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and has set conditions governing industrial and human relations, established minimum wage standards, and protected low-wage workers from paying income tax. The 40-hour work week is the standard, and Jamaica has no history of child labor problems. In 1999, the government-mandated minimum wage increased to J$1,200 a week, and no income tax was required on wages lower than J$100,464 a year. In addition, the government provides social security benefits that include a retirement pension, pay for on-the-job injuries, food stamps, rehabilitation, and training. These latter benefits are considered sub-standard, however, and represent a tiny portion of federal spending.


It's hard to make a living in Jamaica.   The Jamaican economy is made up mainly from tourism, bauxite, and sugar.  Over 20% of Jamaica's population is under the poverty line. Living conditions vary greatly between rich and poor. Health care is generally considered good, and the average life expectancy is seventy-six years for women and seventy-two years for men. All Jamaicans are accustomed to dealing with interruptions of electricity, mail, water, and telephone services.


Jamaica's main exports are alumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals and mineral fuels. Main export partners are US, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.  Jamaica's main exports are alumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals and mineral fuels.


The main imports are food and other consumer goods, industrial suppliers, fuel, parts and accessories of capital goods, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials. Main sources of imports are US, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela and Brazil.  


Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean Sea to the southeast of the United States, nearest to neighboring Cuba and the island of Hispaniola. Jamaica has a total coastline of 635 miles. The total area covered by the island is 4,212 square miles.  Kingston is the capital. Jamaica has a varied topography with rugged mountains, some of which are volcanic, and narrow valleys and a coastal plain.  Jamaica is tropical and hot and humid on its coast and temperate inland.  Jamaica's capital has an average July high temperature of 90°F and a January average low of 66°F.

Comment Stream