The Economic Development Bank Economic Activity Index (EDB-EAI) for Puerto Rico saw a decline of 0.8% during the fiscal year 2021, which runs from July to June. However, the index rebounded in fiscal year 2022, growing by 4.9%. Similarly, the calendar year 2021 closed with an increase of 4.9%, while a preliminary estimate for calendar year 2022 showed a 1.9% increase.
Unfortunately, the index saw a preliminary decrease of 0.3% for the first eight months of fiscal year 2023. These changes are all year-over-year comparisons and reflect the impact of various economic factors on Puerto Rico’s economy.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EDB-EAI y-o-y percent change had increased for 20 consecutive months, largely due to recovery efforts following hurricanes Irma and Maria. However, the trend reversed in March 2020, when stricter containment measures were implemented to combat the pandemic.
Following thirteen months of continuous annual decreases, the EDB-EAI experienced a shift in its trend in March 2021, with eighteen consecutive months of improved economic activity being exhibited thereafter.
However, in September 2022, the index experienced a downturn due to the impact of Hurricane Fiona, which was reflected in various economic data reports, including those regarding the Index of Economic Activity (IAE) components.
In February 2023, three of the Index’s four seasonally adjusted components registered monthly declines: cement sales (3.1%), gasoline consumption estimates (0.3%), and electric energy generation (0.7%). Non-farm payroll employment increased by 0.5%. Comparing these results to February 2022, non-farm payroll employment improved by 3.4%, while cement sales also increased by 3.4%. In contrast, the gasoline consumption estimates, and electric energy generation dropped by 6.0% and 4.9%, respectively.
Overall, the EDB-EAI provides insight into Puerto Rico’s economic activity and highlights the impact of various factors on the island’s economy. While recent data has shown some declines, there have also been positive trends, particularly in non-farm payroll employment and cement sales.