Puerto Rico’s employment situation improves

Bonds

Puerto Rico’s employment numbers continued to improve in September.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics household survey total employment in September was up 0.25% from August and 1.6% from April.

The bureau also collects an establishment survey of nonfarm employment, called Current Employment Statistics, which showed employment was up 7% since April. It has increased every month since April. This survey excludes self-employment.

According to the establishment survey private sector employment was up 10% during that period.

However, both surveys showed declines in employment over the past 12 months — the household survey indicated a 3.5% decline and the establishment survey a 2.9% drop. Private sector employment in the period was down 2.95%.

All the employment statistics are seasonally adjusted.

On Oct. 5, the Economic Development Bank for Puerto Rico reported the island’s economic activity index for August rose 1.7% from July, but off 7.6% from August 2019.

The August economic activity index figure was the second consecutive monthly increase.

Economic data drew the attention of the Puerto Rico Oversight Board and bondholders as they negotiate a new plan support agreement for the central government’s debt. The bondholders argue Puerto Rico’s economy is stronger and has more potential than the board expects.

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