Drops in electric power generation, gasoline consumption and cement sales kept Puerto Rico’s economic activity in negative territory in November, according to the Government Development Bank’s Economic Activity Index (GDB-EAI) released Tuesday.
The November 2015 figure for the EAI was 126.1, a year-over-year (YOY) decrease of 0.5 percent, when compared to November 2014, and a drop of 1.3 percent vs. October 2015. For the first four months of the fiscal year — July to November — the EAI was 127.0, representing a small gain of 0.1 percent with respect to the same period of the previous year, the GDB report showed.
The GDB-EAI reflects the performance of four key economic indicators: employment; power generation; gasoline consumption; and, cement sales.
The report for last month showed that total non-farm payroll employment averaged 920,800, an increase of 0.5 percent when compared to the same month in 2014. This series is revised every March by the U.S. Department of Labor and in 2015 had a downward revision, the GDB said.
Preliminary data for electric power generation for November 2015 was 1,676.2 million kWh, a YOY drop of 0.5 percent.
Gasoline consumption in November 2015 was 73.8 million gallons, 8.8 percent below November 2014. The GDB estimates the numbers from the Treasury Department’s monthly gasoline excise tax collections paid by importers, which are transferred to Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority.
These collections fluctuate due to changes in inventories and purchases, which do not necessarily reflect the actual monthly consumption reported by retailers, the agency stated.
Finally, cement sales for November 2015 totaled 0.94 million bags, registering a 2.5 percent drop when compared to the same month last year.
“The GDB-EAI is an indicator of the general economic activity, not a direct measurement of the real Gross National Product,” the GDB said. “The annual growth rate of the EAI is not the same as the annual growth rate of the real GNP.”