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Puerto Rico's Unemployment Rate Hits A 20-Year Low
Rate of 11.7% helped by lower workforce participation,
down from 12.8% in Jan. 1999
by Jeffry Valentin-Mari, Ph.D.
February 24, 2000
Copyright © 2000 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.
Puerto Rico's unemployment rate continues to decline, dropping
to 11.7% in January according the monthly report of the Department
of Labor and Human Resources. The January jobless rate came down
from a figure of 12.8% in January 1999. The number of unemployed
people decreased by 23,000, or 10%, to 153,000.
Source: Puerto Rico Department of Labor
and Human Resources
Despite a 1.1% drop in the jobless rate the number of employed
persons also declined in January to 1,155,000. Still, total employment
in January was the second highest registered for the month of
January since the Labor Department started compiling the statistics
The report supports analysts and economists who indicated that
the fall in unemployment is mainly due to the increased number
of persons deciding to leave the formal labor market.
The number of persons in the civilian labor force, as of January
2000 was 1,308,000. This represents a decrease of 20,000 persons
with respect to January of 1999 (1,328,000).
The labor force participation rate--the proportion of the population
age 16 and older currently working or seeking jobs--reflects a
decreased from 47.7% in January 1999 to 46.4% in January 2000.
During the last decade, the annual average participation rate
was 46.6% for 1989-99.
Source: Puerto Rico Department of Labor and
The number of discouraged workers totaled 1,511,000 in January.
This represents an increased of 56,000 persons with respect to
January 1999 (1,455,000). They are not counted as unemployed because
they had not searched for employment in the 4 weeks preceding
the household survey. These people were not currently looking
for work specifically because they believe no jobs were available
Employment by Industry
As of January 2000, four sectors of the economy employed about
82% of the total employed persons. Specifically, the service sector
employed 27% of the total employed persons; public administration
21%; trade 21%; and manufacturing 14%.
In January 2000, large job gains in construction and trade
were accompanied by a decline in other sectors.
In the goods-producing sector, construction employment rose
by 5,000 persons with respect to January 1999 (78,000). Manufacturing
employment declined by 3,000 persons with respect to January 1999
(156,000). Factory employment has been on a clear downward trend
since fiscal year (FY) 1994-95, but job losses moderated during
FY 1997-98 and FY 1998-99.
In the service-producing sector, employment in trade grew by
12,000 jobs in January 2000, at 245,000. Finance, insurance, and
real estate services increased by 2,000 jobs, from 40,000 jobs
in January 1999 to 42,000 jobs in January 2000.
The number of persons employed in transportation, communication,
and public utilities declined form 66,000 in January 1999 to 56,000
in January 2000. Employment in public administration services
also declined in January, from 252,000 jobs in January 1999 to
246,000 jobs in January 2000.
This Caribbean Business article appears
courtesy of Casiano
For further information please contact www.casiano.com