According to KCNA (2012-1-25):
The gross industrial output value grew 1.2 times for twenty days of January this year as against the same period last year.
This is the result of the high-pitched drive waged by all the workers of the country since the first day of this year after receiving with excitement the joint calls of the Central Committee and the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the joint New Year editorial for this year and the letter of the working people in South Hamgyong Province.
In the period, the Ministry of Light Industry increased the production 1.4 times and the Ministry of Food and Daily Necessities sharply boosted the production.
Thermal and hydropower stations have increased the ratio of operating the generating equipment.
Much effort is being concentrated on supplying coal to the thermal power plants and chemical and metal plants and developing more coal beds.
The Ministry of Coal Industry produced 12,000 more tons of coal than planned for the 20 days.
Iron mills and steelworks also increased the production.
The freight transport volume increased by 12 percent from the same period last year.
Innovations were made in the production of vinalon and fertilizer by the industrial establishments in the field of chemical industry and in the production of custom built equipment and mining machines by the industrial enterprises of the field of machine industry.
The forestry stations and pit wood stations increased the timber production.
Progress has been reported on a daily basis from the important projects including the building of apartments in Mansudae areas and the Paektusan Songun Youth Power Station.
For the uninitiated, this is about as close as the DPRK gets to releasing economic statistics. Note there are no base numbers–only [some] % increases. Also, despite the measure being officially named “output value”, it is really just a claim of increased physical production. There is no value (prices) or mention of “services” included in these measures.
Unfortunately without more solid numbers, and the proclivity to ascribe productivity gains to effective propaganda, these reports cannot be taken seriously.
Although we all talk about the DPRK’s GDP and per capita income as if the numbers are solid, the reality is quite the opposite. In addition to the general lack of information, there are all sorts of methodological problems with assessing the value of the DPRK’s economy. Here are some helpful sources if you want to learn more:
2. G. Warren Nutter papers:
– (JSTOR) “Soviet Industrial Growth”, Source: Science, New Series, Vol. 130, No. 3370 (Jul. 31, 1959), pp. 252-255
-(JSTOR) “Industrial Growth in the Soviet Union”, The American Economic Review , Vol. 48, No. 2, Papers and Proceedings of the Seventieth Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (May, 1958), pp. 398-411
-(JSTOR) Some Observations on Soviet Industrial Growth”, The American Economic Review , Vol. 47, No. 2, Papers and Proceedings of the Sixty-eighth Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (May, 1957), pp. 618-630
3. The North Korean Economy by Nicholas Eberstadt