Puerto Rico’s jobless rate soars to 15.4% in Dec. ’13

The Labor Department released unemployment figures Tuesday.  (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual) The Labor Department released unemployment figures Tuesday. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate jumped by a full percentage point year-over-year in December, when it reached 15.4 percent, Puerto Rico Labor Department statistics revealed Tuesday. The latest result is also 0.7 percent higher than what the agency reported in November 2013.

The report shows that there were 185,000 people unemployed in December 2013. This represents 10,000 more jobless when compared to November 2013 (175,000). Compared with December 2012 (173,000), the number of unemployed people increased by 12,000.

The agency’s data shows that that 56.6 percent of December’s unemployed were let go from their jobs and they were not waiting to be called back to their posts. The remaining said they were: suspended temporarily (2.1 percent); resigned or ended their employment (3.7 percent); people who completed temporary jobs (7.9 percent); re-entering the labor force (2 percent); first job (10 percent); and other unspecified reasons (17.7 percent).

Meanwhile, the estimated seasonally adjusted employment in December 2013 was 1,013,000 people. This represents 4,000 fewer employees when compared to November 2013 (1,017,000), and a drop of 19,000 workers when compared with December 2012 (1,032,000).

The report indicates, however, that the island’s workforce stood at 41.8 percent in December, reflecting a slight increase of 0.4 percentage points when compared to November 2013, when it was 41.4 percent. Compared with December 2012 the workforce participation rate remained essentially flat, improving by just 0.1 percentage point.

Seasonally unadjusted employment in the agricultural sector, was of 13,000 in December 2013, representing a drop of 2,000 people when compared with November 2013. The current figure also represents a 1,000-worker drop year-over-year.

In the self-employed category, the statistics show that there were 155,000 people on their own in December 2013. This represents a drop of 9,000 self-employed people when compared to November 2013, and 2,000 less than the results for December 2012.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 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 areas of the economy.

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