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Federal Figures Show 37,921 Jobs Lost During Governor’s Administration Instead of 55,305 Gained as He Now Claims

Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla (‘Commonwealth’ party) has been taking pains since Wednesday to claim that 55,305 jobs had been created in Puerto Rico under his administration.

The assertion began to come just five days after he said in an extemporaneous answer to a question that “5,000 to 6,000 jobs” had been lost during the same period.

Garcia’s promise that he would create 50,000 jobs within 18 months is widely considered to have contributed to his election in November 2012 in a territory that had been losing jobs since April 2006.

Since he took office at the beginning of January 2013, his administration has consistently been claiming that it was making good progress towards fulfilling Garcia’s job-creation campaign pledge. So, his unscripted admission a week ago that jobs had been lost was a surprise.

The truth is that jobs have been lost during Garcia’s administration — but many more than the Governor acknowledged. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 37,921 jobs had been lost from the time that Garcia became Governor through the end of May. Puerto Rico had 1,030,603 jobs when he took office and had 992,682 at the end of May.

The discrepancy between what Garcia is now saying and the truth comes from the Governor only talking about jobs created and not those lost — a meaningless figure.

In fact, the territory has lost nearly 22.5% of the jobs that it had in April 2006. There were 1,277,560 jobs in Puerto Rico then.

The job losses are a reflection of the failing ‘Commonwealth’ economy. Although Puerto Rico’s economy grew at a fast pace during the 1950s and ‘60s, income growth in the territory began to fall behind income growth in the States during the 1970s and the income gap between the States and the Commonwealth has grown since then.

Major contributors to the Commonwealth’s poor economic performance have included:

  • International free trade agreements that eliminated its advantage over foreign countries as a manufacturing location for the U.S. market;
  • Skyrocketing increases in the price of oil that the Commonwealth uses to generate 69% of its electricity while the U.S. as a whole uses less than 1% for public power production;
  • The Commonwealth’s territory status which denies Puerto Rico as much as $10 billion a year in Federal programs, and potentially billions more through Federal purchasing and changes in Federal programs that would be possible if Puerto Rico had as much or more political power in the Federal government than 20 States based on its population vs. no power now;
  • An economic strategy that focused on tax exemptions for manufacturers from the States, which benefitted the companies more than the territory; and
  • Millions of Puerto Ricans ‘voting’ for the greater opportunities of statehood for themselves and their families by moving to a State.

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