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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Unemployment rate remained steady in August

Labor and Human Resources Secretary Gabriel Maldonado González

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources, in conjunction with the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor (DTRH by its Spanish initials), reported Tuesday that the unemployment rate remained at 6.2% for August, which in turn represents 20 consecutive months with a historically low rate of 6.5% or less.

The labor participation rate, meanwhile, increased to 43.7%, which is 3.3 percentage points higher than in January 2021.

“The official labor market data published by our agency and the federal government tell us that the month of August 2023 continues to reflect historically positive numbers under the mandate of the governor, Pedro R. Pierluisi,” Labor Secretary Gabriel Maldonado González said in a written statement. “Using another sample and different methodologies, other surveys such as the recently published American Community Survey of the United States Census for the year 2022, tell us the same positive story, so no one can question the economic rebound that we are experiencing on our island.”

“Even so, aware that we have a long way to go to meet the high demand for additional labor in all economic sectors, last week we unveiled the new advertising campaign entitled ‘Puerto Rico está Faja’o,’ based on principles of diversity, equity and inclusion and aimed at increasing the labor participation of women, older adults, young people, people with functional diversity, those who have criminal records and those who participate in social welfare programs,” the labor chief said. “The campaign is tied to numerous initiatives of the DTRH and other government agencies, which impact the aforementioned demographic segments. The private sector is key in these efforts, since it groups approximately 80% of salaried jobs in Puerto Rico.”

According to the publication Employment and Unemployment, which reports on data from the Worker Group Survey, the unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, stood at 6.2% for August, the same as the previous month. When compared to August 2022, the unemployment rate rose 0.4%. The current figure is one of the lowest in our history and represents a decrease of 2.8% when compared to January 2021.

The non-seasonally adjusted labor participation rate for July of this year was estimated at 43.7%, for an increase of 0.3% compared to the previous month and 1.3% compared to August 2022. The new rate represents an increase of 3.3% compared to January 2021 and is among the highest since 2010.

For the month of August 2023, the estimate of the labor force, seasonally adjusted, was 1,182,000 people, an increase of 3,000 compared to the previous month and of 12,000 people when making the year-on-year comparison. When compared to January 2021, the new figure represents an increase of 64,000 people in the workforce. The labor force number is one of the highest since 2012.

Total employment, seasonally adjusted, was set at 1,109,000, about 4,000 additional employees compared to the previous month and 7,000 more than those reported in August 2022. In addition, the new figure represents 91,000 additional jobs compared to those that existed in January 2021. It is one of the highest total employment numbers since 2009.

As for unemployed people, seasonally adjusted, the monthly statistics reflected a figure of 73,000 people, a decrease of 1,000 citizens from the previous month and 5,000 more than in August 2022. The number of unemployed people is 27,000 fewer than those reported in January 2021.

The preliminary results of the monthly survey of nonfarm wage employment reflected a total of 951,300 jobs in July of this year, an increase of 3,900 jobs when compared to the previous month. Meanwhile, the new figure constitutes an increase of 23,100 jobs when compared to August 2022. It is one of the highest numbers since 2009 and represents about 100,400 additional jobs compared to those reported in January 2021, almost all in the private sector.

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