The diversification of the Isle of Man economy is continuing to provide great resilience in the face of difficult trading conditions and reduced Government spending.
The Manx economy remains on course for real growth approaching 4% in 2013-14, according to the latest Quarterly Economic Report to the Council of Ministers.
The report, which covers the period 1 July to 30 September 2013, says this robust economic performance is being achieved thanks to ‘an ever-widening number of sources’.
The success of the Island’s emerging and niche sectors is also ensuring the local economy is becoming less reliant on public spending at a time of increasing pressure on Government budgets.
The report says: ‘Projections are that the Isle of Man ratio of Government gross spending to GDP will have fallen from 24.8% in 2010-11 to around 22% in the current fiscal year. This augurs well for the future sustainability of the economy and the Island’s public finances.’
Overall, the report points to a two-speed local economy.
Export businesses and those with an international outlook are faring particularly well and are continuing to provide good job opportunities for Island residents.
However, sectors relying on domestic demand, such as construction, leisure and retailing are experiencing a difficult time with trading conditions ‘as tough as they have ever been’ over the past three decades.
Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK said: ‘The policy of diversification has been a significant factor in helping the Isle of Man to achieve 30 years of unbroken economic growth. It has protected us from the effects of the recent global economic downturn and is now reducing any over-dependence on public spending, which is an important consideration when Government is looking to make significant savings.’
He added: ‘Developing the economy remains central to my vision for the Isle of Man and we will continue to work closely with all areas of the business community to create the right environment for further growth.’
The Economic Report highlights e-gaming as one of the Island’s fastest growing sectors, with the number of licence holders up by 20% on last year and 80 new jobs created during the first half of 2013.
The picture is also becoming more positive in engineering, with employment levels at major companies at record levels due to very strong order books in the aerospace and oil and gas industries.
The report adds that the Island’s film sector, which is partnered with Pinewood Shepperton plc, is this year expected to generate around 4,000 bed nights, 16 trainee placements and £2 million of local spend.
Across the economy, it is forecast that before the end of this year up to 150 new jobs will have been created in the Island’s export sectors – and possibly double this number in ancillary and domestic supply industries as a result.
Mr Bell said: ‘We remain in a period of unprecedented challenge, but the outlook for the Island’s economy is encouraging and I think we can look ahead to 2014 with a sense of optimism.’
A copy of the Quarterly Economic Report to the Council of Ministers for the period 1 July to 30 September 2013 can be viewed on the Government website at http://www.gov.im/about-the-government/government/the-council-of-ministers/council-of-ministers/comin-reports/