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Caribbean Islands


During the mid-1980s, construction activity declined sharply as the major public sector investment programs of the 1970s and early 1980s were completed and as tight monetary conditions reduced the availability of credit. From 1983 to 1985, the construction industry's output fell some 21 percent annually, reducing its share of GDP from 15 percent in 1982 to 11 percent in 1985. Total output in 1985 equaled US$792 million. Most construction activity in the late 1980s was limited to minor road building, housing and factories, and some hotel construction. Although the Robinson government in the late 1980s was proposing that the construction sector be the catalyst of new economic activity, it remained unlikely that the industry would regain the prominence it held in the 1970s. The sharp decline in construction, the major employer of the economy, was expected to exacerbate the worsening unemployment rate.

In the late 1980s, Trinidad and Tobago was becoming less dependent on imports in the construction industry as increased steel and cement capacity was attained. The low quality of locally produced cement also encouraged the introduction of higher grade cements in the 1980s. Housing projects were also becoming more sophisticated, including self-help schemes, after improper design and construction had made government housing projects unpopular in previous years.

Data as of November 1987