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Puerto Rico’s average yearly salary hovers at $25,332, study shows

Puerto Rico’s average worker makes about $25,332 a year, according to a study by the Census Information Center of the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey, based on numbers from the US Census for 2017.

The Center’s Director, Economist José Caraballo-Cueto, explained that the most recent economic Census provides data on a cross-section of private sector activity, except for agriculture, which is studied separately.

Based on the information, the Center generated an X-Ray of Puerto Rico’s private sector, which showed that the largest in terms of sales were manufacturing ($85.2 billion), retail ($25.4 billion), wholesale ($19.1 billion) and information technology ($14.7 billion). However, in terms of jobs, the biggest sectors are retail (132,033), health and social services (84,933), hospitality and food and manufacturing services (82,815).

“So, if we study our economy in terms of sales, manufacturing is the largest sector. But if we look at it from the job perspective, then retail is the biggest,” Caraballo-Cueto said. “This cannot be mistaken for each sector’s contribution to the economy, since the manufacturing sector generates jobs in its sector and others — manufacturing employees buy from retailers.”

In terms of average annual salaries, the Center’s investigation showed a “great disparity among sectors.”

The mean for all of Puerto Rico was $25,332 a year, but the hospitality and food services sector shows a very low mean of $13,097, below the equivalent of a full-time job being paid the minimum wage.

Meanwhile, the water and power utility sectors have the highest mean salaries, at $62,400, followed by business management ($51,122), and finance and insurance ($42,370).

“So, among the largest sectors, only manufacturing and information technology pay the highest average salaries that exceed Puerto Rico’s total average,” he said, of the sectors that pay an average annual salary of $37,073 and $42,370, respectively.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 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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