Puerto Rico labor market shows signs of recovery after Hurricane Maria
SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico Labor Secretary Carlos Saavedra revealed Monday statistical data on the island’s labor market for January, indicating that, for a third consecutive month, the number of people employed rose, although numbers remain below those before Hurricanes Irma and Maria made landfall in September.
For January, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was estimated at 10.9 percent. When compared with December, it represented a 0.1 percent drop. In comparison to January 2017, the decrease in January 2018 was of 1 percent.
Meanwhile, the labor-force participation rate stood at 40.3 percent. When compared with December 2017, the participation rate was lower by 0.4 percent. In relation to January 2017, the participation rate fell by 0.2 percent.
For last January, seasonally adjusted employment, which measures the total number of people working, was estimated at 976,000 people. This represents an increase of roughly 1,000 people employed when compared with December 2017. However, it also reflects a decline of 11,000 people when compared with January 2017.
The nonfarm payroll employment survey–derived from goods, construction and manufacturing companies–revealed there were roughly 847,900 salaried positions on the island in January. The number rose by 1,500 compared with employment in December. Salaried employment has increased for three consecutive months since the hurricanes.
For October, salary employment was estimated at 836,200, thus about 11,700 positions have been restored since the storms. However, their impact continues to be observed in the statistics, since, compared with January 2017, salaried employment in Puerto Rico has dropped by 42,800 jobs.
The industrial sectors that recorded increases compared with the previous month were retail (1,500); recreation and lodging (1,200), educational services (600), and finance (100).
“We will closely monitor the pulse of the labor landscape to continue taking measures that reverse the result of an economy in recession for more than a decade. The increase for three consecutive months of salaried employment is a trend we want to continue seeing reflected in labor statistics, particularly after the scourge of two unprecedented natural phenomena in our history,” Saavedra said.
The methodology of the Labor Department surveys is validated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) through a cooperative agreement. Monthly employment data are reviewed by the BLS. Data for 2016 are final. Data for 2017 are projected and subject to revision next year.
The surveys are available at www.mercadolaboral.pr.gov.