Based on gross domestic product (GDP), however, the transportation and telecommunications sector contributes the highest figures with 24%, while mining and quarrying only contributes 1.7% and construction contributes just 7.2% to the GDP.
At the presentation of the management report upon closure of the fiscal year 2012, Frank De Lima, Minister of Economy and Finance, explained that Panama is one of the most enviable economies in the Latin American region due to its economic development, registering an economy that grew 10.7% over the first nine months of 2012 and has maintained a steady growth of 8.4% on average during the past eight years.
This economic boom, according to the Minister of Economy, has brought concrete results for the country, such as climbing nine points in degree of competitiveness to achieve a ranking at position 40 (out of 144) in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report. Panama also came in second place among the most competitive countries in Latin America.
As for economic performance, De Lima highlighted that from 2009 to date, 180,338 jobs have been created, which has helped reduce levels of unemployment to 4%, in comparison to the rates of 6.5% in 2010 and 4.5% in 2011.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance report stressed the importance of social programs like the Network of Opportunities and 100 for 70 that have helped to reduce poverty rates to 25.8%, compared to the 27.6 % recorded last year. Records show that 10.4% are in extreme poverty, which according to the authorities at the MEF, indicates that some 300,000 habitants have come out of poverty since 2006.