Economic index shows 6th straight month of growth
By John McPhaul
Economic Development Bank (BDE by its Spanish initials) for Puerto Rico President Luis Alemañy González announced Wednesday that the Economic Activity Index prepared by the public corporation reflected a year-on-year increase of economic growth of 3.3% for last August, which represents the sixth increase after 12 consecutive reductions.
Compared to last July, the same indicator showed a slight improvement, an increase of 0.2%. The year-on-year increases take into account the effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While it is true that these are positive indicators, we are also monitoring other events that could eventually affect the Index, both positively and negatively. We are seeing considerable investment in infrastructure, driven by federal aid, among other positive signs, although the delay in the supply chain should also be a matter of concern,” Alemañy González said. “What we can say is that Puerto Rico is emerging from the crisis caused by natural events and the pandemic thanks to the government actions led by the governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, along with the resident commissioner, Jenniffer González [Colón] and the various sectors.”
The analysis conducted by the BDE’s Center for Economic Studies found that, although it is true that Puerto Rico has managed to contain the spread of the coronavirus due to the high vaccination rate and the measures established by the authorities, economic growth has turned out to be uneven due to the emergency in the distribution chain. That external factor has affected different sectors of the economy, the study found.
“Added to this are other factors, such as difficulties in recruiting personnel, insufficient materials for manufacturing, the high cost of energy, and lack of storage space,” said Gladys Medina, an economist from the bank’s Center for Economic Studies. “The study also highlights the strengthening of the workforce in August, although it suggests that there are still challenges in terms of the reintegration of employees in the industries most affected during the pandemic, such as those dedicated to services in recreation and accommodation, education and the provision of health services.”
At the same time, another of the BDE’s economists, Juan Carlos González Ruiz, emphasized that “[a]nother positive factor is the increase experienced in cement sales, which remain at over 1.2 million 94-pound bags per month, and the increase in face-to-face work that coincides with the rise in gasoline consumption.”
Noted Alemañy González: “We understand, within the analysis, that Puerto Rico has benefited from investment in infrastructure, support for trade, and the production of medicines, among other factors.”
“Furthermore, as the report reads, the gradual reintegration of workers should have a positive impact on the economy,” he said.
Alemañy González added that the BDE (www.bde.pr.gov) is contributing to economic development and job creation.
“We continue to boost our economy with financial products, loans and lines of credit for small and midsize businesses,” he said.