Puerto Rico economic activity continues to rise
SAN JUAN – The Economic Development Bank for Puerto Rico (BDE by its Spanish initials) published Thursday its Economic Activity Index (EAI) for May 2018, which reached 120.4, a result that represents a 1.6% contraction when compared with the same month last year, but a 0.4% increase compared with the previous month this year.
The four main indicators that make up the EAI are nonfarm payroll employment, electric-power generation, gasoline consumption and cement sales, with the latter two rising in May.
The average of nonfarm payroll for May was 853,600, staying essentially the same as April’s. However, the figure is 3.3% lower than in May 2017. In May 2018, 1.25 million 94-pound cement bags were sold, a 1.9% drop in sales compared with the previous month but a substantial 27.5% increase versus May 2017.
Estimated gasoline consumption in May this year was 82.5 million gallons, 6.9% less than in April, but an increase of 2.3% when compared with May 2017. Electric-power generation reached 1.44 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in May, an increase of 2.3% over the prior month, but 14.5% less than in May last year.
The EAI correlates with Puerto Rico’s real gross national product (GNP) in terms of levels and annual growth rates, but is “not a direct measurement of real GNP,” the EDB explains, and its annual growth rate is not the same as the annual growth rate of real GNP. It uses a methodology similar to what is used by the Conference Board—an international research group—in its coincident index of the U.S. economy.
The EAI has registered an upward trend for six-consecutive months.