Puerto Rico ends 2017 with marked job reductions
SAN JUAN – Results from the latest Puerto Rico Labor Department surveys reveal that for December, the island saw a decline of 45,300 nonfarm payroll jobs compared with the same month in 2016.
Seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment in Puerto Rico, which is based on goods, construction and manufacturing companies, was 847,800 in December. When compared with December 2016, a marked decrease is seen since the figure stood at 893,100 back then.
The industries that registered losses were: transportation, warehousing & utilities (12,300); government (10,900); private education & health services (7,100); manufacturing (4,800); leisure & hospitality (4,700); mining, logging & construction (3,000); financial activities (1,300); professional & business services (1,100); and information (100).
Likewise, for December 2016, the seasonally adjusted estimate of the working population amounted to 1,119,000 people, but compared with December 2017, when the figure was 1,100,000 individuals, reflects a reduction of 19,000 people.
In addition, the labor-force participation rate, not seasonally adjusted, for December 2017 was 40.9%. Thus, this indicator registered a 0.2% decrease compared with December 2016, when it was 41.1%.
Meanwhile, data by age group in December 2017 show people ages 35 to 44 have the highest level of labor participation, at 71.4%, among the financially active population.
The labor participation rate registered by men for December 2017 was 49.3%, compared to 33.4% for women.
It should be noted that in October 2017, the labor participation rate stood at 38.6%, which was its lowest level in 27 years. Meanwhile, during that same period, salaried employment on the island was the lowest since at least 1990, at 842,000.
Labor Secretary Carlos Saavedra explained that the effects from hurricanes Irma and Maria continue to be evident in the labor market since both salaried employment and the total number of employed people continue below the levels before the September storms. In turn, the level of employment in Puerto Rico last December was below the previous year.
“The labor market is still not at the levels prior to the passage of two unprecedented natural phenomena, so there is much work to be done to lift Puerto Rico after the onslaught of these atmospheric phenomena and an economic crisis entering its second decade,” Saavedra said.