Surprises fill stat book

Inflation up from 0.6 per cent. to 4.4 per cent, population down from 44,144 to 36,340, imports up from $553.5 million to $722.4 million and exports halved from $4.3 million to $2.1 million, all in a year.

Those figures – contained in the newly released Cayman Islands Compendium of Statistics – might certainly be expected to raise an eyebrow or two.

That is until you take into account that the years being compared are 2003 and 2004.

And 2004 was the year of the smallest and yet most significant statistic of all – one hurricane, Hurricane Ivan.

The 2004 compendium of statistics, laid on the table in the Legislative Assembly on Monday, gives every kind of statistic – from the major to the more obscure – of recent life in Cayman.

So as well as seeing that real GDP growth fell from 2 per cent in 2003 to 0.9 per cent in 2004, you can also find out things like that pumpkin production rose from 75,000lbs in 1999 to 96,000lbs the following year.

The employed labour force of 28,827, (13,841 Caymanians and 14,986 non-Caymanians) in 2003 dropped to 22,420 (11,444 Caymanians and 10,976 non-Caymanians) in 2004.

In the same period the unemployment rate rose from 3.6 per cent to 4.4 per cent.

Turning to the weather, you might believe that the year of Ivan would have been an exceptionally wet one.

In fact there were 36 less days of rain last year than the 178 in 2003 and total precipitation of 68.6 inches in 2003 fell to 51.9 inches last year.

On the money front, you might think you don’t have as much of the stuff in your pocket as you would like. But there’s more of it about and that’s a fact.

In 2003 there was $54.3 million of currency in circulation and last year that figure had climbed to $73.9 million.

When it comes to crime, the 84 per cent cleared up overall in 2003 fell to 46 per cent in 2004.

The prison population of 212 in 2003 dropped to a figure of 162 at the end of last year.

Laying the report on the table in the House, Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson said the compendium contained a wealth of both new and previously published information in its 124 pages.

He said he would arrange for the production of wallet sized cards of key statistics and they would be sent to Members.

They would provide a succinct and useful reference of information about the Cayman Islands, he told the House.