Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate stood at 14.8 percent in April, representing the lowest level in 16 months. The number of employed people on the island increased by 22,000, while those on the unemployment lines were the lowest in the last four months.
While the data is positive, it must also be noted that the workforce participation rate dropped in April to a historic low, 39.4 percent, while the employment rate was flat in comparison to the same month last year, according to Labor Department statistics released Wednesday.
When compared year-over-year, the number jobless people decreased by 17,000 to 188,000 last month from the 205,000 on record for April 2011. The result is the lowest for a month of April since 2008.
“With these statistics we can see that total employment remained in positive territory compared with the same month last year, April 2012 was the fifth consecutive month of growth and is a trend we’re seeing for the first time since March 2007,” Labor Secretary Miguel Romero said Wednesday.
On the other hand, the year-over-year employment level increased by 2 percent, to slightly more than 1.08 million last month from 1.06 million in April 2011. The jump represents the fourth consecutive increase in employment, but still falls short of the 1.2 million people who were employed prior to the start of the recession six years ago.
The island’s workforce stood at 1.27 million in April, also significantly below the 1.4 million on record pre-recession. Meanwhile, the employment rate — defined as the proportion of the population that could be available for work that is actually working — remained flat year-over-year at 33.8 percent, the agency’s data showed.