Puerto Rico Economic Activity Index rises for 5th consecutive month
SAN JUAN – The Economic Development Bank for Puerto Rico (BDE) published Monday the Economic Activity Index (EAI) for April, which reached 119.9. This result represents an increase of 0.6% when compared with March. The index has registered an upward trend for five consecutive months.
The EAI is highly correlated to Puerto Rico’s real gross national product (GNP) in both level and annual growth rate and is used to measure the behavior of the island’s economic activity and possible future trends. Its methodology is similar to that used in the Conference Board’s coincident index of the U.S. economy.
The four main indicators that make up the EAI are the average of total nonfarm-payroll employment, cement sales, gasoline consumption and electricity generation.
Payroll employment is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor and Human Resources (BLS) on a monthly basis. The establishment survey provides employment, hours, and earnings estimates based on payroll records of business establishments in Puerto Rico.
Electric power generation figures are provided by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) on a monthly basis. This indicator includes the electric power generation produced by petroleum, natural gas, coal and renewable energy sources supplied by utility-scale solar generating capacity–two wind farms and landfill gas sources.
Cement sales numbers are provided by CEMEX Puerto Rico & Argos Puerto Rico LLC monthly. The data are compiled and converted by the EDB.
Meanwhile, gas consumption is provided by the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority, and the EDB “adjusts the series with a 3 month moving average.”
The components of the index that reflected an upward trend in April were gasoline consumption and cement sales.
According to the EDB, average nonfarm employment for April was 849,400, which represents a moderate growth of 0.4%, or about 3,400 more jobs than in March. In addition, by April, 1.3 million 94-pound cement bags were sold, an increase of 3.4%, or 41,900, more bags compared with the prior month.
The estimated gasoline consumption in April was 84.4 million gallons, an 11.5% increase, or 9.1 million gallons more than in March. Electric power generation for April totaled 1.35 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in April, an increase of 2.5%, or 34.7 million kWh more than produced in March.