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Economic Activity Index reaches max level of 118.9 points in June

Puerto Rico’s Economic Activity Index (EDB-EAI) reached a maximum level of 118.9 points, a number that represents a year-over-year increase of 8%, Economic Development Bank President Luis Alemañy confirmed.

“This is the fourth year-over-year increase after 12 consecutive decreases. If compared to the previous month, the EDB-EAI growth rate decreased 0.5%. The interannual results reflect the effects of the closure caused by the pandemic on the island,” Alemañy said.

Although there is an upward trend in the index, Alemañy said “economic activity requires that the improvement maintain a consistent positive multisectoral rhythm. It’s also important to bear in mind that, as COVID-19 infections continue to spread widely worldwide, any signs of recovery in the economy will be subject to those segments of the population that remain susceptible to the virus and its mutations.”

The sectors in employment most affected by the measures that were implemented to control the virus — including services in recreation and accommodations, education and health, among others — still have a way to go to reach the levels they presented prior to the pandemic.

“However, those worker losses could gradually be absorbed by other industries and will be greater once the federal aid ends soon,” he said. “In any case, non-farm wage employment showed an improvement in June, both monthly and year-on-year. Investment in infrastructure and trade support boosted by federal aid, and the continued reintegration into the workforce of people unemployed because of COVID-19, in turn, should positively impact employment on the island.”

During fiscal year 2021, the EDB-EAI, decreased by 1.7% when compared to fiscal year 2020. A 5.0% reduction was registered during calendar year 2020, the first annual decrease after two years of growth. During the first semester of calendar year 2021 (Jan-June), it improved by 2.2%, according to the report.

The EAI-BDE measures four components: total non-farm payroll employment; cement sales; gasoline consumption; and electric power generation.

Total non-farm payroll employment averaged 850,900 jobs in June, which entails an upturn of 0.1% with respect to May on a month-over-month basis, and an annual increase of 6.9%.

Electric power generation for June 2021, totaled 1,511.3 million kWh, declining by 6.5% on a month-over-month, and by 5.6% annually. The preliminary estimate for gasoline consumption in June 2021 totaled 67.6 million gallons, showing an upswing of 0.8% with respect to May, and a 10.3% increase when compared to June 2020.

Finally, cement sales totaled 1.2 million 94 lb. bags for June 2021, with a drop of 14.8% in a month-over-month, and a 18.8% decrease when compared to June 2020.

“However, this comparison is with respect to the period when the construction sector resumed after the lockdown measure to contain the COVID-19 pandemic,” the government agency stated.

The EDB-EAI is an indicator of general economic activity, not a direct measurement of Puerto Rico’s real GNP.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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