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Economic report highlights importance of emerging sectors 2 December 2009

EFFORTS to diversify the Isle of Man’s economy are continuing to bear fruit, according to the latest economic report to the Council of Ministers.

The report, which covers the third quarter of 2009 to the end of September, highlights the importance of emerging sectors such as e-business, the shipping and aircraft registries, and space commerce. It states that significant activity in these areas is stimulating new business and employment opportunities in the face of challenging global conditions.

The aircraft register is cited as a successful example of Government’s strategy to broaden the Island’s economic base. Established in May 2007, the number of private and corporate aircraft registrations has increased year-on-year to stand at 169. The report says:

‘At our current rate of growth the Isle of Man will be the global leader in early 2010 and it is difficult to see what competitors could offer to match, never mind exceed, our product.’

Similarly, the shipping register is continuing to attract new enquiries, particularly following recent marketing activities in Asia, while further development of the space industry is forecast. E-gaming is also performing strongly and is ‘expected to grow significantly in terms of job numbers and business activity.’

The resilience of the economy is reflected in the Island’s unemployment total which stood at 901 at the end of September, 2.1% of the economically active population.

The report says:

‘This compares favourably with the UK rate of 5% and the equivalent EU rate of more than 7% and indicates that local businesses in key sectors of the economy are holding up well’.

The overall picture remains mixed, however, with the construction, manufacturing and retail industries experiencing difficult conditions as a result of the global economic downturn. The report points to further pressures on certain sectors as companies take long-term strategic decisions and seek to streamline costs.

Treasury Minister Allan Bell said:

‘The Isle of Man has certainly not been immune to the fall-out of the global slowdown and there are likely to be more challenges ahead. However, the Island has shown that it can respond positively to changes in the international environment and the diversity of our economy remains a great strength. It is also important to reiterate that the Island is currently not in recession and our economy is expected to grow by 2.5% in the current financial year.’

A full copy of the quarterly economic report can be viewed at http://www.gov.im/lib/docs/cso/sept09quarterlyreport.pdf

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