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Economic Activity Index up slightly in October, driven by cement sales

Puerto Rico’s Economic Activity Index (GDB-EAI) reached 127.7 in October 2011 compared to 126.7 registered during September 2011, reaching the highest level since November 2010, the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico said Monday.

The EIA’s data shows that three out of four economic indicators reflected month-over-month improvements, and in the case of cement sales there was a substantial year-over-year growth.

Cement sales reflected an 18 percent upsurge when compared to September 2011 and a 20 percent year-over-year increase. October 2011 cement sales reached 1.8 million bags. When compared year-over-year cement sales have increased by 4.1 percent so far.

“We continue to see a positive trend in the economic indicators. Cement sales stand out for their large growth this month. Last month and this month, we have seen a positive trend in terms of the total EAI, even if there are slight fluctuations in each individual indicator,” said GDB President Juan Carlos Batlle said.

The GDB-EAI showed that total payroll employment reflected a slight 0.2 percent increase in October 2011, when compared to the prior month. However, when analyzed year-over-year, total payroll employment reached 916,000 jobs two months ago, which represents a slight 0.3 percent drop when compared to October 2010. The service sector showed growth, as 5,400 new jobs were added compared with October 2009, reflecting a 1.8 percent increase, the government agency said.

Still, the island’s unemployment rate still stands at about 16.3 percent, one of the highest on record, while the workforce participation rate hovers at about 39 percent.

Meanwhile, electric power consumption was 1,638,600 kWh in October 2011, which reflects a 1.8 percent month-over-month improvement. When compared to the same month in 2010, electricity consumption was 1.8 percent lower.

On the other hand, gasoline consumption was 72.7 million gallons, which reflects a month-over-month decline. However, as explained in the report, consumption is based on the Treasury Department’s monthly excise tax collections from imports and does not necessarily reflect actual monthly consumption by individuals.

“In the past months we have seen minor month-over-month fluctuations, but we have stopped the sustained fall that was reflected since 2006. These results continue to confirm the economic stabilization and tell us that we are on the right path,” Batlle said.

The GDB-EAI is an economic tool that summarizes the current trend and dynamics of the Puerto Rico economy.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 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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