Construction activity in the private sector of Panama fell 48 percent in the first quarter of 2018 in relation to the same period of last year according to data released on Wednesday, May 9 by the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC).
The decline does not include State projects like Metro Line 2 and the Tocumen International Terminal 2. But the figures come in the midst of a construction workers strike that has dragged on for three weeks with employers Assc (CAPAC) and the Suntracs Union far apart on the issue of wages.
Work has been stalled for three weeks on 260 projects involving some 120,000 workers.
In the first three months of this year, 574,657 square meters were built between residential and non-residential works, 48 percent less than the 1.1 million square meters of the same period of the previous year.
The biggest drop was recorded in the province of Panama, which includes the capital, with 54.4 percent, as they built 334,127 square meters compared to 732,018 square meters in the first quarter of 2017.
In the Caribbean province of Colón, the square meters constructed by the private sector to between January and March totaled 47,780 square meters, 339.1 percent more than the 10,882 in the same period of last year.
The construction sector is one of the economic power engines of Panama and in 2016 it accounting for 14.9 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016,.
Panama’s economy is the most dynamic in the region with an economic expansion of 5, 4 percent in 2017.