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CofC unveils studies confirming entrepreneurs, consumers still worry

Nearly half of Puerto Rico’s entrepreneurs, 48.3%, perceive the island’s economy as being in a recession, and most of them, 89.7%, confirmed that their businesses have been affected by inflation.

Meanwhile, consumer confidence appears to be on a growth curve, as personal finances are improving, enabling people to buy the things they want.

Such were two of the many findings from two separate studies commissioned and revealed by the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce (CofC) with the goal of providing a glimpse into economic and demographic trends across various sectors to facilitate businesses in planning and strategic development for 2024.

The most recent edition of the Puerto Rican Entrepreneur Confidence Index covers such aspects as the main issues that affect local business operations, as well as the outlook for investment, inflation and the island’s economy.

In the study, participating businesses confirmed that the three main issues that affect their operations are taxation (49%), labor shortages (47.6%) and government bureaucracy (42.1%).

The study made the distinction of separating businesses with fewer than 20 employees from having more. Both groups agreed that energy costs were also affecting their day-to-day operations.

In addition, the study includes data on economic indicators, the investment of federal reconstruction funds and economic growth projections for 2024 and 2025. The study was conducted, as in previous years, by economic research firm Estudios Técnicos Inc.

Likewise, the results of the Puerto Rican Consumer Confidence Index, conducted by NielsenIQ, examines the concerns, economic expectations and purchasing habits of local consumers.

Some of the findings also showed that the negative perception regarding the island’s future is diminishing, leading Puerto Ricans to perceive a similar situation in the next six months. However, they still believe the economy is in recession.

Inflation has emerged as the predominant concern for Puerto Ricans, even surpassing education, security and health, the study found.

Both studies were presented Thursday to the business community at La Concha Resort in San Juan.

CofC President Ramón Pérez-Blanco, who is also president of Fulcro Insurance Inc., emphasized their significance.

“The PRCC’s business and consumer confidence indices have become benchmarks for strategic business planning. These tools provide highly reliable information for the private sector, the government sector and the public, which allow them to interpret industrial, commercial and consumer sentiment regarding economic projections,” he said.

Pérez-Blanco added that consumer confidence indices are indicators that are widely used in jurisdictions around the world for economic planning purposes.

“This is a vital study to measure the degree of optimism or pessimism among Puerto Rican consumers. The Consumer Confidence Index allows us to visualize changes in the population’s consumption and saving habits and project them into the future to anticipate opportunities and threats in the economic landscape,” he concluded.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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