Furbert: We are not in recession
The Minister for the Cabinet Office said yesterday Bermuda was not in a recession.
Wayne Furbert added the bulletin of statistics for the last quarter of 2018 showed “some positive growth”.
He said retail sales had been down, but that could not be the only indicator of a recession.
Mr Furbert added: “The numbers we have here today are very good news and no we are not in any recession.”
He said visitor spending increased in the last quarter of 2018 and spending by cruise ship passengers more than tripled from $7 million in 2017 to $23.9 million in 2018.
He said the estimated total expenditure by air visitors increased by 5 per cent to $83.7 million over the same period in 2017.
Visitors spent $2.7 million more on accommodation and food and $1.2 million more on shopping, entertainment and transport services.
Mr Furbert said the statistics indicated economic progress.
He added: “These results are a tangible demonstration that this Government’s socio-economic policies are bearing fruit and this is good news for Bermuda.”
One Bermuda Alliance leader Craig Cannonier said visitor increases were due to policies implemented by the Bermuda Tourism Authority and a rise in employment income on construction was due to on-going capital projects started under the OBA.
He said: “While employment income rose overall, that is down to two factors: a rise in the number of people employed by Government, which is being paid for by higher taxes, and a significant rise in fourth quarter income in the IB sector.
“The statistics show that people in international business earned a total of $259.9 million, an increase of $23.3 million, compared to the same quarter in 2017.
“But what the Minister failed to point out was that for the full year, IB employment income fell by $12.8 million, to $1.14 billion. People are losing their jobs or leaving the island.”