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Labor Dept.: Puerto Rico’s workforce participation rate at 43.9%

Puerto Rico’s labor participation rate averaged 43.9% in fiscal 2022, the highest number registered since fiscal year 2010, Labor Secretary Gabriel Maldonado-González said, citing the agency’s latest Economic Analysis Report.

“Our data analysis, with data produced at the local and federal levels, reflects that the labor market and the economy of our island have a positive and recovery trend,” he said.

“The labor participation rate was estimated at an average of 43.9% for fiscal year 2022, the highest number since fiscal year 2010, which tells us that we’re on the right track,” said Maldonado-González, who explained that the trend occurs after the initial period of the COVID-19 pandemic and despite the inflationary crisis, the dislocation in the distribution chains, the loss of population and the multiple natural disasters that have affected the I=island in recent years.

The purpose of the report, in compliance with the requirements of the US Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, is to examine the economy and the Puerto Rico labor market during fiscal year 2021-2022.

This is based on official data published by state and federal agencies such as the Puerto Rico Labor Department, the Puerto Rico Planning Board, the Puerto Rico Economic Development Bank (EDB, in Spanish), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the US Census Bureau, and the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, among others.

Looking at the numbers of people who work, data for fiscal year 2022 reflects some 1,116,000 people employed or self-employed, an increase of 78,000 or 7.5% when compared to the previous year and the highest in over a decade.

There were more employed men (54.5%) than women (45.5%). As for self-employment, the number was set at 193,000 for fiscal year 2022, which represents 17.3% of total jobs, mostly in services, commerce, and construction. This historic increase is due to changes in labor market dynamics because of COVID-19, with employees demanding more flexibility. 

In terms of the labor market, the seasonally adjusted working group or labor force reflected some 1,203,000 people for fiscal year 2022, an increase of 67,000 or 5.9% when compared to fiscal year 2021. These numbers are higher than before the pandemic and are the highest in the last decade, the agency stated.

As for those who are not part of the workforce — people who are neither working nor looking for work — the number was set at 1,535,000 people, a reduction of 78,000 people or 4.8% when compared to the previous fiscal year.

When comparing fiscal year 2020 to 2022, the drop is 59,000 people or 3.7%. This group outside the labor force corresponds mainly to retired people or people with domestic work who represent a total of 60%. In terms of gender, women prevail at a rate of 61%.

In turn, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for fiscal year 2022 was set at 7.2%. According to the Labor Department’s most recent data published in August 2022, after the close of the fiscal year, the unemployment rate stood at 5.8%, the lowest in history, as well as the numbers reported during all the months of 2022.

The municipalities with the lowest unemployment rates during fiscal year 2022 were Guaynabo, Gurabo, Culebra, Trujillo Alto, Cidra, Dorado, Cayey, San Juan, Toa Alta, Caguas, and Toa Baja.

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

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