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EDB analyzes sectors driving economic growth in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s Economic Development Bank (EDB) recently shared promising data on the island’s economic recovery, supporting confidence in the island’s sustainable growth.

“The island is in a solid and stable position, and the economic numbers are encouraging” said Gov. Pedro Pierluisi. 

“The economic growth experienced in the last two and a half years has been significant, and the statistics prove it. We will continue to work with all sectors contributing to our economy to ensure sustained economic development.”

EDB President Luis Alemañy-González stressed that “the economic indicators demonstrate that the development of the economy in Puerto Rico is laying the groundwork and aspiring to achieve better standards of living on the island, with growth rates of 0.9% and 3.7% in gross domestic product for the fiscal years 2021 and 2022, respectively, according to data from the Puerto Rico Planning Board. These positive indicators support our confidence that Puerto Rico will continue to have economic stability in the coming years.”

“We have observed a growth in personal consumption expenditures of 19.2% in fiscal year 2021 and 8.5% in 2022,” Alemañy-González said. “In addition, the economic activity index shows consecutive year-over-year increases of 0.8% in April and 1.8% in May, suggesting that fiscal year 2023 will close with growth of 0.3%.”

The number of establishments in Puerto Rico increased by 3,479 from 2019 to 2022, reaching a total of 48,647. Significantly, 95% of these establishments are small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), underscoring the vibrancy and resilience of the local business sector.

The sectors with the highest number of establishments are as follows: retail trade in the first position with 9,180; followed by health care and social assistance with 7,768 establishments; professional, scientific and technical services with 5,730; lodging and food services with 5,309; and other services with 3,549. 

Between 2019 and 2022, professional, scientific and technical services experienced the highest increase (993 establishments), followed by lodging and food services, which gained 700 establishments.

“The retail trade and food and beverage sector were favored by their customers’ liquidity, thanks to assistance like the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) or the individual assistance that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided after Hurricane Fiona, Alemañy-González said. “These sectors maintain high levels of employment with positive growth.”

“However, despite the fact that such assistance is no longer available, these sectors continue to maintain high levels of employment with positive growth. In addition, these industries have recorded increases in the number of establishments, employment, and retail sales,” he added.

Total employment rose 3.4% from July 2022 to May 2023 compared to the same period the previous year. 

“All major employment sectors have seen an increase, except for the information technology sector, which has remained stable,” said Gladys Medina, an economist at the EDB’s Economic Studies Center.

The EDB said that, in collaboration with the government and the business sector, it will continue to drive sustainable economic growth on the island, and that the positive economic indicators provide a solid foundation for Puerto Rico’s future, reinforcing confidence in long-term stability and economic development.

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