Through 2016, it had grown four of the last five years.
Its estimate for 2017 is expected in July.
“While estimates vary widely, the South Korean central bank says the North Korean economy has grown... I too think the direction is likely positive,” said Ahn, who is currently a professorial lecturer at Johns Hopkins SAIS.
Some satellite photography leads to similar conclusions.
The Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) set it as the main task for socialist economic construction this year to strengthen the independence and Juche character of the national economy and improve the people's standard of living.
This represents the noble intention of our Party to make the 70th birthday of the DPRK the greatest event of significance by bringing about a decisive turn in the improvement of people's standard of living.
We have solid material and technical foundations for consumer goods production, laid in Pyongyang and localities under the wise leadership of the Party, and excellent models and plenty of experience for the rapid development of the light industry.
When the potentials of light industry are given full reign to effect a great upsurge in production, can cheers for the WPK and socialism resound far and wide in the sky of September.
The U.S. imperialists and their vassal forces are now making desperate efforts to hold in check our vigorous advance and stamp out our idea and system.
The great spirit of self-reliance displayed in the light industrial field and all the consumer goods produced with our resources and efforts will be a merciless telling blow to the hostile forces.
All the officials and workers in the field of light industry should redouble their efforts to bring about a great turn in the improvement of people's standard of living through the on-going revolutionary general offensive in hearty response to the Party's militant call.