Puerto Rico’s Economic Activity Index for May and June 2020, which reached levels of 109.7 and 108.8, respectively, reflect month-on-month reductions of 3.5% and 0.8% and decreases of 10.2% and 10.8% when compared with the same months of the previous year.
The separate monthly reports published by the Puerto Rico Economic Development Bank are the third and fourth consecutive declines after 20 months of year-on-year increases, agency President Pablo Muñiz-Reyes confirmed.
“Currently, the analysis period includes the months from when the island experienced the consequences of a 6.4 magnitude earthquake, followed by strong aftershocks, complicated by the subsequent state of emergency decreed due to the severity and scope that characterizes the current COVID-19 pandemic,” said Muñiz-Reyes.
The EDB-EAI year-over-year percent change grew for 20 consecutive months, in tandem with the recovery efforts that followed Hurricanes Irma and María, and up until the COVID-19 global pandemic collective response took precedence over other non-emergency related endeavors, as of March of 2020, the bank said.
The EDB-EAI is an indicator of general economic activity, not a direct measurement of Puerto Rico’s real GNP. It is made up of four indicators: total payroll employment; total electric power generation; cement sales; and, gas consumption.
The EDB-EAI report for May showed that total payroll employment averaged 782,100 employees. In June, that number reached 800,900.
Electric power generation was set at 1,579.5 million kWh in May and 1,604.2 million kWh in June.
Gas consumption was reported at 59.0 million gallons in May and 52.1 million gallons in June, which represented -22.0% and -30.1% year-over-year drops.
Cement sales totaled 1.3 million of 94 lb. bags for May 2020, and 1.4 million of 94 lb. bags in June.
In accumulated terms, the average EDB-EAI for 2019 was 122.6. This shows an increase of 1.6% versus 2018, the second consecutive annual growth after five years with consecutive annual reductions, the EDB stated.
However, the accumulated average of the EDB-EAI for fiscal year 2020 ended at 119.6, which translates into a decrease of 2.0% versus fiscal year 2019 (122.1 or +6.1%).
In turn, the accrued average of the IAE-BDE for the first semester of 2020 (January-June) is 116.2, which represents a 4.9% drop, the agency confirmed.