The Barbados economy is expected to grow by 1.6 per cent this year and 2.1 per cent next year, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
These projections are slightly different from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) predicted growth rate of 1.7 per cent for both this year and 2017.
The Central Bank of Barbados has projected economic growth of 1.4 per cent this year and 1.7 per cent next year.
In the recently released International Labour Organization’s 2016 Labour Overview of Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC and the IMF estimated that most Caribbean countries would experience higher economic growth in 2017 when compared to this year.
ECLAC estimated that of the 16 Caribbean territories highlighted, Barbados would have the seventh highest growth rate for this year and the fifth highest for 2017.
The Chile-based organization estimated that the Dominica Republic would experience the highest growth in the region this year (6.5 per cent), followed by St Kitts & Nevis (4.7 per cent); Guyana (4.4 per cent); Dominica (4.2 per cent); Suriname (4 per cent); and Antigua and Barbuda (3.5 per cent).
For next year ECLAC estimated that nine of the 16 economies would register growth of two per cent or above. These include the Dominica Republic (6.3 per cent); Guyana (5.2 per cent; St Kitts Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda (3.0 per cent each); Grenada (2.9 per cent); Barbados (2.1 per cent), with Cuba, Haiti and St Lucia all registering economic growth of two per cen.
The other economies featured in the document were Trinidad and Tobago, predicted to record negative growth of -2.5 per cent this year and 0.8 per cent next year; Jamaica (1.2 per cent this year and 1.3 per cent next year); St Vincent and the Grenadines (2.3 per cent this year and 1.8 per cent next year); Belize (0.8 per cent this year and 1.5 per cent next year); and The Bahamas, estimated to grow by half a percentage point this year and 0.9 per cent next year.
For this year the IMF estimated that Antigua and Barbuda; Grenada; Guyana; St Kitts and Nevis and the Dominica Republic would experience economic growth of two per cent or above.
The Washington-based organization estimated that of the 15 regional economies for which it had data, the Dominica Republic; Antigua and Barbuda; Belize; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Jamaica; St Kitts and Nevis; St Vincent and the Grenadines; and Trinidad and Tobago would experience growth in the order of two per cent or higher in 2017.
The IMF did not have data for Cuba.
The economic growth came as the unemployment rate in the Caribbean and Latin America jumped to 8.1 per cent in 2016 to 23 million, the highest in a decade, according to the ILO document.
The 1.5 per cent increase over 2015 means an additional five million people joined the ranks of unemployment in the regions this year.