Antigua and Barbuda - Economy

Throughout most of the island's history, sugar and cotton production were by far the principal economic endeavors. Since the 1960s, however, tourism has been the main industry, accounting directly and indirectly for some over half of GDP. The sugar industry has become insignificant and cotton output has declined. The dual-island nation's agricultural production is mainly directed to the domestic market; and the sector is constrained by the limited water supply and labor shortages that reflect the pull of higher wages in tourism and construction. In 2001, agriculture accounted for 3.9% of GDP and employed 11% of the labor force, while services, including tourism accounted for 77% of GDP. In the industrial sector, manufacturing consists mainly of enclave-type assembly plants, with the main value-added outputs being bedding, electronics, and handicrafts. The tourist industry has helped spur growth in the construction sector of industry. In 2001, industry accounted for 19.1% of GDP. From 1988 to 1998, GDP grew by an average3.1%: 2% 1990 to 1995, and about 5% 1996 to 2000. In 1998 and 1999, hurricanes Georges and Lenny held back growth. In 2000, real GDP growth fell to 3.5%, because of reduced tourism. Inflation 1996 to 2000 averaged 1.56%, and in 2000 was a negligible 0.4%. Unemployment in 2000 was 7%.

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