Government will make more resources available to the Economics and Statistics Office to carry out new surveys. Marco Archer, minister for Finance and Economic Development, said next year the Household Budget Survey 2015 will be conducted from January to December.
The survey will determine the importance or statistical weights of household items that are included in an updated consumer price index basket which is used for monitoring the cost of living in Cayman.
Also starting next year, the ESO will conduct two labor force surveys in April and October, instead of just one, using electronic tablets rather than the previously used paper questionnaires.
“With this enhanced technology and twice-a-year survey, we can expect more timely labor force statistics in support of employment monitoring and policy-making,” the minister said.
The October 2014 labor force survey started on Oct. 5.
In a statement on Statistics Week 2014, held in collaboration with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) this week, Mr. Archer said he had also proposed amendments to the Statistics Law aimed at strengthening the flexibility of ESO to respond to emerging data requirements and ensure greater participation of residents in the data collection activities.
The official statistics disseminated by the ESO are not only beneficial to the local community, they have also become assets for raising Cayman’s reputation in the global investment community, Mr. Archer said, as global data organizations have requested to become data dissemination agents for economic indicators generated by the ESO.
“In light of these requests, there is a need for the ESO to catch up with the data dissemination terms and conditions of the most developed statistical offices in the world such as Statistics Canada,” he said. “More importantly, such opportunities make it more compelling for every member of the community to invest in official statistics by participating willingly in surveys, and ultimately by using them for everyday decision-making.”
The changes aimed at making the official statistics more responsive to the needs of the community and policy makers are necessary, Mr. Archer said, because in today’s information economy “good statistics allied to appropriate government policies, business and individual plans can change things radically for the better.”
Mr. Archer gave several examples of statistics influencing participants in the economic and political decision makers saying that gross domestic product can influence the way in which people view their country’s economic prospects and challenges and that the consumer price index provides a basis for changes in the compensation paid to workers and pensioners, as well as utility charges.
Macroeconomic statistics give an indication of a country’s position relative to the global economy and can influence a sovereign’s credit rating and therefore impact the interest rates governments have to pay on their debt in the global capital markets, he added.