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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Historically low unemployment rate continued in January

Labor participation rate ticked down from December but remained ahead of year-ago

Labor and Human Resources Secretary Gabriel Maldonado González

By The Star Staff

Department of Labor and Human Resources (DTRH by its Spanish initials) Secretary Gabriel Maldonado González said Monday that statistics published jointly by his agency and the federal government for January continue to reflect a historically low unemployment rate and employment levels not seen for more than a decade.

“We started 2023 with the same positive trend in our labor market that we saw last year,” Maldonado González said. “Therefore, these new reports also contemplate the annual review of data carried out by the DTRH together with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the federal Department of Labor and the estimates and seasonal adjustments for September 2022 onwards that were delayed because of the passage of Hurricane Fiona.”

The agency continues to bring more people to the labor market, out of a pool of 1.5 million individuals who, for some reason, do not form part of it, the labor chief said.

“We have enormous potential in women, people with functional diversity, ex-convicts, citizens who receive government benefits, young people, and older adults,” he said.

In January 2023, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was recorded at 6%, the same as December 2022. Compared to January 2022 (6.5%), the unemployment rate decreased by 0.5 percentage points, and was three percentage points less than January 2021 (9%).

The seasonally unadjusted labor participation rate during January 2023 was 44.4%, a decrease of 0.3 percentage points compared to December 2022 (44.7%). However, comparing it with January 2022 (44%), there is an increase of 0.4 percentage points. Comparing it with January 2021, the growth is four percentage points.

In January 2023, meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted estimate of the island labor force was 1,198,000 people, thus meaning an increase of 9,000 citizens compared to December 2022 (1,189,000). The comparison with January 2022 (1,215,000) showed a reduction of 17,000 people in the labor force, while when compared to January 2021 (1,118,000), there was an increase of 80,000 people.

Total employment in Puerto Rico for January 2023, seasonally adjusted, was 1,126,000. The data equals 9,000 more people compared to December 2022 (1,117,000). On the other hand, compared to January 2022 (1,137,000), there was a decrease of 11,000 workers. Still, compared to January 2021 (1,018,000), the employment level registered an increase of 108,000 employed people.

Regarding the number of unemployed people, seasonally adjusted, in January 2023, 72,000 individuals were registered, the same number as in December 2022. However, that number represents a decrease of 6,000 people compared to January 2022 (78,000) and 28,000 when contrasting with January 2021 (100,000).

Maldonado González also highlighted the figures from the Non-Agricultural Salaried Employment publication corresponding to January 2023. The seasonally adjusted data stood at 939,500. Compared with December 2022 (934,300), salaried employment reflected an increase of 5,200 employees. Compared with January 2022 (911,800), the growth is 27,700, while when contrasting with January 2021 (850,900), the increase is 88,600.

All economic sectors registered monthly increases, except the government, which had a reduction, and the information sector, which showed no changes. In the year-on-year comparison, all sectors increased their level of employment, except information, which had no changes, according to a statement.

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