Employment in Puerto Rico’s only large county, the municipality of San Juan, increased 1.7% from September 2018 to September 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirmed.
Large counties are defined as those with 2018 annual average employment of 75,000 or more.
Chief Regional Economist Martin Kohli noted that in September 2019, San Juan’s employment level of 242,900 accounted for 27.6% of total employment in the commonwealth.
In the U.S. mainland, employment grew 1.1% over the year, as 283 of the 355 largest U.S. counties gained jobs. The 355 largest counties made up 73.4% of total U.S. employment.
The average weekly wage in San Juan was $637 in the third quarter of 2019, a 0.9-% decrease over the year. In the continental United States, the average weekly wage increased 3.6% to $1,093. Among the 355 largest U.S. counties, 350 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages, the BLS said.
Employment and wage levels showed that Puerto Rico’s remaining 77 municipalities had wages below the U.S. average of $1,093.
Juncos had the highest average weekly wage, $868. Two towns, located in the northern and southeastern parts of the island, had average weekly wages above $600 — Guaynabo ($650) and Maunabo ($607).
Thirty-five towns had average weekly wages below $400, with about half of them located in the western part of the island, including the three with the lowest averages — Cabo Rojo ($322), Moca ($321), and Las Marías ($305).
In the neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands, average weekly wages were also below the U.S. average.
The highest average weekly wage among the three Virgin Island counties was $1,124 in St. Croix. Average weekly wages on St. Thomas and St. John were $931 and $725, respectively, the agency said.
Of the 37,800 jobs in the USVI in September 2019, 18,922 were on St. Thomas, and 17,513 were on St. Croix.