Economic Activity Index up 2.7% in Sept. despite pandemic-related crisis
Puerto Rico’s Economic Activity Index (EAI) for September 2021 reached a maximum level of 120.3 points, representing a year-on-year increase of 2.7%, according to the Puerto Rico Economic Development Bank’s Center for Economic Studies.
“This is the seventh year-on-year increase after 12 consecutive reductions. If compared to the previous month, the EDB-EAI’s growth rate rose 0.7%,” said EDB President Luis Alemañy.
Alemañy explained that congestion in transhipment ports in the United States, difficulties in recruiting personnel, a shortage of materials for manufacturing, increases in energy costs and lack of warehouse space are some of the elements that are impacting the supply chain.
On the other hand, the employment sectors most affected by the measures that were implemented to control the virus — services in recreation and accommodation, education, and health, among others — still have a way to go to reach the levels they presented prior to the pandemic.
The EDB-EAI contracted 5.0% in 2020, to reach 116.6 points, when in 2019 it averaged 122.8 and grew 1.6%, according to the data. In turn, the index’s average for fiscal year 2021 ended at 117.9, which translates into a decrease of 1.7% versus fiscal year 2020 (120.0 or -1.9%).
However, the average of the index for the January to September period was 119.3 points or an increase of 2.7%. Similarly, the index rose to 119.7 or 3.7% during the first quarter of fiscal 2022 (July-September).
In September 2021 compared with August 2021, two of the four components of the EDB-EAI — non-agricultural salaried employment and cement sales — remained flat by increasing a slight 0.01% and 0.8%, respectively, while gasoline consumption was also flat, dropping 0.1% and power generation electricity was reduced by 2.2%.
When compared against the same month of the previous year (September 2020), non-agricultural salaried employment increased by 3.3%, gasoline consumption by 0.6% and electricity generation by 1.3%, while the remaining component decreased: cement sales (-11.4%).