Puerto Rico’s local companies have doubled their impact on the economy since 2017, becoming the island’s main source of jobs, according to a study commissioned by Empresarios por Puerto Rico.
The “La Fuerza de Aquí: A study of the economic and social impact of local companies on Puerto Rico,” local companies account for 96 percent of commercial establishments, 83 percent of employment and 53 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.
Moreover, the study commissioned to Estudios Técnicos analysis firm confirmed that every dollar in local production company generates 5.9 jobs, while foreign companies generate 1.7 jobs in Puerto Rico.
“We have witnessed the momentous changes that have transformed our economy, mainly from 2017 to the present,” said Enid Monge, president of Empresarios for Puerto Rico. “However, these changes have not been studied and validated in statistical terms.”
“Now we have proof that our contribution is one of the most valuable, so it is necessary to present public policy that promotes our development,” Monge said.
Estudios Técnicos CEO José Joaquín Villamil explained that “for example, grocery stores generate 5.1 jobs vs. 2.4 jobs generated by the same type of establishment at the chain-store level per one million in sales.”
“Local hardware stores generate 7.7 jobs vs. 5.3 created by hardware stores coming from abroad. So despite the displacement of local capital caused by national chains, local business remains vital to Puerto Rico’s economy,” Villamil added.
The economist also noted “we’re in a good place to encourage the development of local business because many of the foreign chains have closed their doors on the island, paving the way for the strengthening of locals.”
One of the findings of the study is consumer perception about local businesses. Random interviews of consumers residing in Puerto Rico reveal that 83 percent think that Puerto Rican companies make a great contribution to the island’s economy.
In addition, 80 percent said Puerto Rican companies offer quality products. Consumers interviewed said that their reasons for not approaching a local business are issues such as pricing, inventory and customer service.
“When we see these changes in the Puerto Rican consumer perception, it is because, certainly local businesses are doing something well,” Monge said. “But we must continue to educate to end some misconceptions about our businesses, especially competitiveness in prices.”