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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Economic Activity Index increases for 9th straight time

Economic Development Bank President Luis Alemañy González

By The Star Staff

The Economic Activity Index of the Economic Development Bank for Puerto Rico (IAE-BDE by its Spanish initials) increased in October for the ninth time in a row since its year-on-year trend changed to positive starting in February of this year.

With the October increase, economic activity also grew year-on-year in 29 of the last 33 months to date, after falling starting in March 2020, two months after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake, accompanied by aftershocks, struck the island. In addition, in March 2020, the strictest measures to prevent COVID infections were put into effect.

All four components of the index show positive year-on-year growth, simultaneously, for the past four months, from July to October of this year, which has not been recorded since mid-1999.

“By way of illustration, the period of 1999 that stands out coincides with the years during which important construction projects or ‘megaprojects,’ public and private, contributed greatly to the growth of the country’s economic production,” BDE President Luis Alemañy González said in a written statement. “Months in which year-on-year growth of between 15 and 30 percent was recorded in cement sales with a sales level in the neighborhood of 4.0 million bags of cement. In those months, there were also increases of 1% and 2% in the level of salaried employment of more than 1 million workers. And although the island was not exempt from natural phenomena that affected the normal course of economic activity, such as the passage of Hurricane Georges in September 1998, it was years before events of global scope affected other economies, including those of the United States and Puerto Rico, as happened after the terrorist attacks of 2001. or after the collapse of subprime mortgages, which devastated investors and the financial system, which began in the late 2000s and spread around the world.”

“Another contrast is the demographic factor,” he added. “In Puerto Rico there were 3.8 million inhabitants, according to the 2000 Census, and the latest population estimate, intercensal, calculated a population of 3.2 million for 2022, which represents a reduction of almost 590,000 inhabitants.”

The IAE-BDE, a tool developed to measure the current state of island economy, registered 129.4 points in September and 129.7 points in October of this year. That represents a month-on-month increase of 0.9 percent for September and growth of 0.2 percent for October. In turn, if compared to the same month of the previous year, the growth rate of the IAE-BDE rose 6.1 percent in September and 5.9 percent in October.

“This latest increase would mark the ninth consecutive [period of] growth,” Alemañy González said.

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