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Puerto Rico Labor Secretary: Employment Still at Best Level in 5 Years

By on December 20, 2019

SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico Labor Secretary Briseida Torres Reyes announced in a press release Friday that nonfarm private payroll employment “remains at its best levels in five years,” according to the most recent monthly survey, which was conducted in November.

According to published data, the number of jobs in the private sector rose to 671,400, a year-over-year increase of 6,600 jobs compared with November last year. When compared with October this year, there was no significant change.

On the other hand, nonfarm payroll employment in the public sector dropped by 600 jobs last month, “in line with the policy if payroll and spending reductions without layoffs,” the release reads. “In that sense, the greatest reduction has occurred in the state government, with 3,600 fewer jobs than in November 2018 and 800 fewer than October this year.”

The sectors with the greatest year-over-year increases were Education and Health Services, 5,000; Leisure and Hospitality, 2,200; Mining, Logging and Construction, 800; and Manufacturing, 700.

“In terms of the Working Group survey,” Torres Reyes announced an increase in the unemployment rate, “which nevertheless remains at historical minimum figures for the month of November.”

The current rate, according to the survey, is 7.9%, a 0.2% increase over the previous month and a 0.5% drop from November 2018. The figure is the best for the month of November since these statistics began to be recorded and “keeps the rate below the average so far this year,” the release says.

“We have to continue strengthening the conditions of the labor market, both from the public and private sectors, to ensure that the numbers stay at these historically low levels, but it is equally important to create the foundation for a considerable increase in the [labor-force] participation rate,” the official said of November’s 39.9% rate, which is 0.1% less than the same month last year and 0.6% lower than last October.

The statistics reflect an increase in the female participation rate, which reached 33.4% in November, while the male participation rate is 47.5%. The number of women employed increased by 7,000 from October to November, according to non-seasonally adjusted figures.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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