The Department of Statistics has released the annual National Accounts Report revealing that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by an estimated 4.2 per cent in current prices and 3.4 per cent in constant prices last year.

The Report contains information on the GDP, output, intermediate consumption, depreciation, wages and salaries by industry, consumption by government and households, and investments in capital formation, exports, imports and gross savings.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Ms. Clarice Turnquest, Supervisor of the National Accounts Section and Senior Statistician, said the data is presented in current market prices (the prices of each respective year) and in constant prices (removing the effects of inflation and leaving in changes due to quality and efficiency). *“The GDP is the most widely accepted economic indicator used to track the performance of a nation, and it offers a comprehensive insight into the health of the Bahamian economy,”* she said.

The statistics released show a sustained expansion over the previous year, led by a growth in tourist expenditure, exports of goods, and a robust construction industry led by multi-million dollar projects around The Bahamas. *“These increases in 2006 were born out in the growth measured by the 2006 Labour Force Survey results,”* according to Ms. Turnquest. That survey revealed that employment had grown by 7,530 persons or 4.7 per cent. Major industries contributing to the growth at constant prices were cited as construction, wholesale and retail trade, and banking.

Consumer confidence in the economy’s continued growth was displayed by major increases in the Bahamian dollar credit issued in The Bahamas, led by personal credit, construction, professional and other services, and the distributive trades.

Ms. Turnquest noted that the National Accounts Report represents preliminary figures – based on first round estimates of major data providers, trend analysis and a series of current indicators.