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Island’s Unemployment Remained Steady At 10% In May

Puerto Rico’s economy added 45,000 new jobs year-to-year; participation rate swelled to 47.5%


June 22, 2000
Copyright © 2000 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

For the fourth consecutive month, Puerto Rico’s economy registered a 30-year record low unemployment rate of 10%, according to the most recent household survey conducted by the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources.

Significantly, the low unemployment rate was registered despite a considerable increase in the participation rate, which–at 47.5%–was almost a full percentage point higher than the average registered for a month of May during the last decade (46.6%).

The number of employed persons in Puerto Rico for May was 1,210,000. This is the highest figure ever registered for a month of May since the statistical series began in 1947, according to figures provided by the Department of Labor and Human Resources.

The May employment figure represents a noteworthy increase of 45,000 new jobs when compared with May 1999 (1,165,000). In addition, the economy gained 40,000 new jobs from 1,170,000 in April 2000 to 1,210,000 in May 2000.

The number of men employed rose by 21,000 to 689,000 in May, with respect to 668,000 in May 1999. Meanwhile, the number of women employed increased by 23,000 to 520,000 in comparison to 497,000 in May 1999.

May’s 10% jobless rate was down form 11.0% registered in May 1999–a 1% reduction. In fact, this is the lowest jobless rate for the month of May since the 10.0% registered in 1965.

The May survey demonstrates much higher unemployment among male workers (12.1%) than female workers (7.1%).

In addition, the percentage distribution of employment by educational level is given as follows: approximately 49.1% of those employed have completed at least one year or more in university, 31.3% completed high school, 4.8% completed one or two years of high school, 7.8% completed intermediate school, 5.5% completed primary school, and 0.7% have no formal education.

The number of persons in the civilian labor force, which comprises the employed plus the unemployed, rose by 36,000 persons to 1,344,000 in May, when compared with 1,308,000 in May 1999.

The labor force participation rate–the proportion of the population age 16 and older currently working or seeking jobs–reflects an increase from 46.7% in May 1999 to 47.5% in May 2000.

The number of self-employed persons for May was estimated in 167,000, an increase of 6,000 when compared with May 1999 (161,000). For April 2000, the number of self-employed persons was 161,000.

The number of persons outside of the labor force in May totaled 1,488,000. This represents an increase of 4,000 persons with respect to May 1999 (1,492,000). Month-to-month, the number of persons not in the labor force edged down by 41,000 to 1,488,000 in May, when compared with April 2000 (1,529,000).

Persons not in the labor force are not counted as unemployed because they had not actively searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

The household survey provides comprehensive data on the labor force, the employed, and the unemployed, classified by such characteristics as age, sex, race, family relationship, marital status, occupation, and industry attachment. Trained interviewers collect the information from a sample of about 7,500 households located all over the island, except the municipality of Vieques and Culebras.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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