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Puerto Rico Still Losing Jobs

The number of people employed in Puerto Rico fell 1,411 to 988,474 in August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday, September 19. The number is 22.6% less than its historic high in April 2006 and the lowest since January 1993.

The number is also 4.25% lower than when Governor Garcia Padilla took office at the beginning of January last year: 42,129 fewer people are employed now in Puerto Rico than at that time. This is a particular political problem for the Governor since, as a candidate, he promised to increase employment  by 50,000 by this past July 1st.

Administration officials have more recently been saying that he meant the creation of new jobs, not net employment.

The news came on the heels of negative economic estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • Household incomes in the territory dropped 2.3% last year from $19,630 in 2012 to $19,183.
  • The poverty rate rose from 44.9% in 2012 to 45.4% in 2013.
  • Income inequality was at a higher rate than any State or the District of Columbia.
  • Migration to the States totaled 49,000 last year.

Puerto Rico’s poverty rate was 44.9% in 2012, according to the agency. It was 24.2% in the State with the highest rate, Mississippi.

Mississippi also had the lowest household income level among the States, at $37,479 in 2013.

Puerto Rico’s income inequality was .547 on Census’ index, which range from 0 to 1. The District of Columbia and New York were the only other jurisdictions with a score above .5.

The migration estimate was down from the 2012 estimate of 54,000 but reduces the Census’ population estimate of 3,615,086 as of July 1, 2013. The 2010 count was 3,725,789, and the 2000 enumeration was 3,808,610.

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