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Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2008-2009

Policies for Creating Quality Jobs

image of Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2008-2009

This publication comes at a critical point in the economic development of the Latin American and Caribbean region. A growth phase that the region's recent history cannot equal in nature and duration has come to an end and output is contracting. The first part of this edition looks at the channels through which the crisis is affecting the economies of the region and its impact on variables such as economic growth, employment and external-sector indicators. It also discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the countries and concludes with a discussion of the outlook for the second half of the year. The second part discusses policies for creating quality jobs, including challenges and opportunities for labor institutions and labor markets, labor-market policies for youth and women. This CD-ROM also contains the electronic versions of the printed publication. The statistical information reflects data available up to 30 June 2009.

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Trinidad and Tobago

The world financial and economic crisis severely impacted Trinidad and Tobago, mainly through the collapse of oil and gas prices after the highs observed during the first seven months of 2008. In this context, GDP growth shrank to 3.5%, two percentage points lower than in 2007. On the economic policy side, the central government recorded a fiscal surplus of 6.5% in fiscal year 2007-08 (compared with 3.8% in fiscal year 2006-2007) owing to higher-than-expected revenue from the energy sector. Monetary policy continued to be based on the absorption of excess liquidity generated by expansionary fiscal spending. The nominal exchange rate remained fairly stable in the context of a quasi-fixed exchangerate regime, but the tendency towards a real currency appreciation continued. Meanwhile, headline inflation posted a rate of 14.5% at the end of 2008, driven by food inflation that reached a record high of 30.6%. The current account surplus increased from 24.6% of GDP in 2007 to 27.6% of GDP in 2008, mainly on account of the expansion of energy exports, whereas the capital and financial account deficit (including errors and omissions) remained at around 16.5% of GDP.

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