Puerto Rico Economic Activity Index continues to decline
SAN JUAN – The Government of Puerto Rico published its July Economic Activity Index (EAI), which stood at 121, representing a 2.1% drop when compared with the same month last yea, and a decrease of 0.1% compared with June 2017. On a year-to-date basis (July 2017 to July 2017) the decline was 2.1% with respect to the same period of the previous fiscal year.
The EAI is “highly correlated” to Puerto Rico’s real gross national product in levels and annual growth rates, but is not the same. Its methodology is similar to the Conference Board’s coincident index of the U.S. economy, “adjusting data for seasonality and volatility factors,” according to the Government Development Bank’s report.
The four main indicators that make up the index are non-farm payroll employment, cement sales, gasoline consumption and electric power generation, all decreased when compared with the same period last year.
Total non-farm payroll employment for July was 871,300, down 0.6% compared with July 2016. About 900,000 bags of cement were sold in July, a of 0.5% drop compared with July last year.
The preliminary number for gasoline consumption in July was 76.2 million gallons, or 6.1% less than in July 2016. The government explains that the estimate comes from the Treasury Department’s monthly gasoline excise tax collections paid by importers which are transferred to the Highways and Transportation Authority. These collections fluctuate due to changes in inventory and purchases, which do not necessarily reflect the actual monthly consumption reported by retailers.
Meanwhile, electric power generation for July 2017 totaled 1.79 billion kilowatt-hours, an annual decrease of 1.5%.