Monday, September 23, 2019

Puerto Rico private sector jobs higher than before 2017 hurricanes

By on March 22, 2019

Officials say February numbers represent ‘total’ recovery

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló again took the opportunity to announce that, for a sixth consecutive month, salaried employment reflected interannual increases, with 19,500 more jobs in February than for the same month last year.

“Although we are aware that we still have a lot to do, the improvement in the jobs picture and economic statistics show that the reforms we have implemented have had a positive effect. We will continue to promote our public policy to continue strengthening the competitiveness of Puerto Rico,” the governor said in a press release.

The most recent surveys pegged nonfarm payroll employment at 873,700 people in February. According to the data, which is based on business establishment payrolls, this represents about 19,500 jobs more than in the same month last year and 1,600 more than in the previous month.

The new numbers reflect six-consecutive annual increases for the month, the governor’s release reiterated, “after reflecting inter-annual losses for 66 months.”

Salaried employment in the private sector was estimated at 671,900 jobs, about 28,900 more jobs compared with February last year and 1,600 more than in January this year.

The employment survey registered 979,000 people working in February, or 5,000 more than the same month last year and 5,000 fewer than in January this year.

The unemployment rate was estimated at 8.5 percent, or 1.8 percent less than in February last year. When compared with January this year, however, the rate rose 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the labor-force-participation rate for February was estimated at 40.4 percent, an increase of 0.4 percent when compared with the same month of the previous year and 0.3 percent greater than in January this year.

Labor Secretary Carlos Saavedra Gutiérrez was quoted in the release as saying that “the positive interannual indicators have been consistent in recent months and we see reflected a rise in salaried employment, with an emphasis on the private sector, which validates public policies implemented by this administration in favor of economic growth.”

He recalled that the 671,900 private sector jobs represent 6,100 additional ones to the 665,800 in December 2016, before Rosselló ook office, and that the private sector also surpassed the estimated jobs in August 2017, the month before the hurricanes, reflecting an additional 10,100.
“This demonstrates a total recovery” since the 2017 hurricanes, the release says.

Saavedra added that the labor force has been growing “in various sectors, but the Leisure & Hospitality, Construction and Self-Employment sectors stand out with increases. We continue at a good pace in the recovery process, although we recognize that this does not mean we have overcome the difficult economic situation.”

The sectors that recorded increases in relation to the previous year were: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (8,100); Leisure & Hospitality (5,300); Education and Health Services (5,200); Mining, Logging and Construction (3,500); Professional and Business Services (2,200); Manufacturing (1,900); Financial Activities (1,500); Information (700) and Other Services (500).

Losses in relation to the previous month were seen in: Information (200); Mining, Logging and Construction (100); Professional and Business Services (100); and Government (100).

The government “reflected numbers aligned to the policies of reduction of expenses of this administration, with a decrease of 9,400 salaried jobs when compared with February of last year,” the release reads.

About 183,000 people were self-employed on the island in February, some 19,000 more than in February last year and 3,000 more than in January this year. The construction sector employed 61,000 people in February, or 21,000 more than last year and 3,000 more than in January this year.

The Labor Department surveys can be found here, while statistical data can be found at www.bls.gov.

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