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‘Self-employment’ in Puerto Rico Hovering Around 9%

By on May 21, 2017

SAN JUAN — In this challenging economy, many people often find themselves having to make ends meet and, some, whether they have another job or not, are resorting to finding ways to earn an income by becoming self-employed.

According to this week’s Gaither International survey, 9% of respondents interviewed during 2016 said they consider themselves to be self-employed when asked about their occupations. This represents about 252,000 people in Puerto Rico who have become entrepreneurs by selling various goods and services on their own.

Among the male population, 14% reported being self-employed, while among the female population interviewed, only 4% said the same, making this segment predominantly male. “At the same time, we find this segment pertains mainly to the High and Middle lifestyle tiers [pertaining to socioeconomic indicators] and they seem to be slightly more concentrated in the San Juan Metro region (38%),” said Melanie Dederick, a client service associate at Gaither International.

She added that 47% report being among the 35-54 age segment, 36% are 18-34 years old and 17% are ages 55 and older.

Gaither found that 23% of self-employed respondents consider themselves to be fluent in English, while 13% has vacationed outside of Puerto Rico in the past 12 months. “In terms of living arrangements, they are overrepresented for living in rentals (32%) compared with the total population. They also seem to prefer co-habiting since they are overrepresented with a total of 22% who report living together with their partner, compared with 12% of the total population,” Dederick said. “This segment reports a 29% [incidence] of not having any children, while the total population reports 22%, meaning they are overrepresented in this aspect as well.”

Gaither’s results are slightly lower than data compiled by Advantage Business Consulting, using data from the Puerto Rico Labor & Human Resources Department.

Advantage found that as of March 2017, an estimated 15% of Puerto Ricans are self-employed; 28% have part-time jobs of one to 34 hours a week; and 59% have full-time jobs working 40 or more hours. “The total percentage is over 100% because the self-employment category can also be counted in the other two categories,” Advantage said.

Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate, which has been hovering around the 12% mark for years, was pegged at 11.5% in March 2017.

The results are from Gaither International’s syndicated Media Brands Profile study, which conducts more than 500 interviews weekly from among the local population ages 12 and older.

–Polling is conducted by Gaither International and results are reported exclusively by Caribbean Business.

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