The most recent Business Employment Dynamics report published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that the private sector in Puerto Rico closed off the second quarter of 2019 with 4,218 new jobs in net terms.
The national study, published in the BLS’ website, concluded that by June 2019 the private sector generated, in gross terms, 43,684 jobs, with a total 39,466 in job losses.
The private sector is largely responsible for the island’s net gains in employment throughout the second quarter of 2019. During that time, 8,370 established companies expanded their services and 1,688 new businesses opened, for a total 10,058 private businesses that increased their employee portfolio. In contrast, 7,629 businesses downsized and 1,268 closed.
Considering both gains and losses, the second quarter of 2019 ended with 1,263 new businesses that resulted in 6,245 jobs, which represents 11 more new establishments than the previous quarter and 141 more jobs.
Despite these gains, that period ended with 4,207 less jobs than the first quarter of 2019 and 8,592 less jobs than the same period in 2018. Moreover, the losses reported in the period were greater than those from the first quarter of 2019 by 4,975 jobs. However, the number of losses in that second quarter is lower than the same time frame in 2018 by 1,876 jobs.
One interpretation for the noticeable difference between the second quarters of 2018 and 2019 is that throughout the first half of 2019 a myriad of businesses that had stopped operations for lack of energy or infrastructural issues caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017 began operating.
By comparison, the fourth quarter of 2018 closed off with 40,125 job gains and 45,122 losses, -8.87 percent less jobs created and 14.33 percent more losses than the second quarter of 2019.
All in all, Puerto Rico ended its second quarter of 2019 with a job loss rate of 5.8 percent, a lower rate than 31 states. Meanwhile, the island had a job gains rate of 6.4 percent, higher than rates reported for 37 states.