The Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics has joined forces with the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Puerto Rico Planning Board to continue developing a project to estimate the island’s gross domestic product.
To move the initiative forward, the Institute’s Interim Executive Director Orville Disdier traveled to the BEA’s Washington D.C.’s offices last week to meet with to meet with Mary Bohman, assistant director of BEA and the team assigned to Puerto Rico, led by Aya Hamano and Sabrina Montes. The Planning Board was represented by Ivonne M. Narváez, planning analyst.
The BEA says the GDP is an indicator of the monetary value of all goods and services produced in a given place at a given time. Calculating the GDP allow the agencies to better reflect production being carried out in Puerto Rico and make statistics more comparable with other jurisdictions.
In 2014, the Institute issued a resolution to adopt certain recommendations to the national accounting methodology for Puerto Rico, and in 2018 the U.S. Government Accountability Office recommended that the BEA estimate Puerto Rico’s GDP.
During the meetings in Washington, there were four economic components that were addressed: personal consumption expenditures; private fixed investment; net foreign travel; and, foreign trade.
“They were two days of very intense, but very productive work. We were able to see many similarities but also many differences between the statistics produced by the federal government and those produced by the Planning Board,” Disdier said.
“However, we have also begun to better understand the possible reasons for these differences. We all agree that it’s not about whether someone is wrong in their statistics, this is actually to understand with as much detail as possible the nature of the data and explain any similarity or dissimilarity,” he said.
“In addition, these talks have shown us that there is still room to improve the quality of economic statistics for Puerto Rico,” Disdier said. “Work will continue over the coming months and the Institute will provide more information as more concrete results are available.
The BEA covered Disdier and Narváez’s travel costs, the Institute confirmed.