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Unemployment Rate Dips In July
Number of jobless down 8,000 to 173,000
By LUIS A. RAMOS
September 18, 2003
The unemployment rate in Puerto Rico dropped in July, according to the latest statistics of the Labor & Human Resources Department.
The unemployment rate in July was 12.4%, a reduction of 0.3 percentage points from June and of 0.5 percentage points from July 2002. The number of jobless in July 2003 was 173,000, 8,000 fewer than in June.
The participation ratei.e., the number of people out of the total work force who are employed or looking for a jobwas 46.9%, down 0.8 percentage points from June and up 0.9 percentage points from July 2002. There were 1.23 million people employed in July 2003, a reduction of 16,000 from the previous month. Sources at the Labor & Human Resources Department indicate these statistics are consistent with past years.
The Labor & Human Resources Department bases its statistics on the Establishment Survey for Nonagricultural Salaried Employees, a 25-plus-page document sent to approximately 4,700 employers every month. "We strongly believe in surveying the marketplace in pursuit of balancing the accreditation needs of human resources with employers selection procedures," said Jose O. Rolon, assistant secretary for planning at the Labor & Human Resources Department.
The number of nonfarm salaried employees in Puerto Rico jumped to 991,000 in July. The sectors reporting employee gains were government, educational & health services, recreation & lodging, professional & commercial services, and finance.
Many suggest employers will become more intent on increasing output through productivity rather than labor. Additionally, several experts claim there will be a shortage of labor in Puerto Rico and on the U.S. mainland in a few years.
"The current labor situation, such as is occurring in the nursing profession, is known as job vacancy. It occurs when there arent enough workers to satisfy a particular profession, yet unemployment in some sectors continues," said Rolon. "The department is already working on a plan to attend to this matter and related issues. Part of this effort includes the creation and implementation of a new tool, the Survey for Entrepreneurial & Occupational Development, to classify the skills and professions in demand on the island."
The Labor & Human Resources Department has also been working on implementing the new business-classification code used on the U.S. mainland and in Canada and Mexico. The North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) will replace the Standard Industrial Classification. NAICS considers information-related activities, technology, and services. The two systems arent entirely compatible with each other.
This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.