The Economy of Panama is a tiger economy which has a free market base mainly based on the services industry, heavily weighted toward banking, commerce, and tourism. The hand-over of the canal and military installations by the US has given rise to new construction projects.
Panama's economy is based primarily on a well-developed services sector that accounts for nearly 80% of its GDP. Services include the Panama Canal, banking, the Colón Free Trade Zone, insurance, container ports, and flagship registry, medical and health, and other business. While the country's industry includes, manufacturing of aircraft spare parts, cements, drinks, adhesives, automobiles, textiles and more recently, handmade artisan creation of Bush planes.
GDP growth for 2000 was about 2.3% compared to 3.0% in 1999. Panama has the second GDP per capita in Central America and the poverty rate was estimated to have been 28.6% in 2007, a level which only Costa Rica gets to be lower. The unemployment rate stands at 6.4%.
Nominal GDP in Panama was (in million of balboa or US dollar) 11,691 in 2002, 13,099 in 2004, 14,004 in 2005 (Prelim), 15,141.9 in 2006 (est), as reported by Office of Statistics and Census, Government of Panama. Growth from 2002 to 2006 has been especially strong in the transport and communications sector, which has become the biggest component of GDP, although many sectors have seen strong growth. Real GDP has risen 7.5% (03-04), 6.9% (04-05), 8.1% (05-06). by United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) forecast 8.5% for 2006-07, and 7.5% for 2007-08, both years being the highest for all of Latin America.