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Employment in Puerto Rico Up 5.5% in March

Intelligent Economics > Analysis > Employment in Puerto Rico Up 5.5% in March

Non-farm payroll in Puerto Rico for the month of March 2022 reached a total of 908,200 workers. Compared to the previous month of February, this total went up by 2,000, or 0.2%. Compared to March 2021, there was an increase of 47,200, or 5.5%. Compared to March 2020, before the first COVID lockdown took place, there was an increase of 20,700, or 2.3%.

Employment (thousands)March 2022March 2020ChangePercentage Change
Non-Farm Payroll908.2887.547.25.5%
Retail Sales132.1124.96.95.5%
Professional and Business Services135.9124.410.58.4%
Health Services85.885.92.12.5%
Source: Puerto Rico Labor Department

The major employment categories that had the largest month over month increases were professional and business services (0.7%), education (1%), and tourism (0.8%). Retail trade (-0.4%) and government (-0.1%) both had decreases in total employment relative to February.

The categories with the largest increases in employment compared to March 2021 were tourism (16.7%), education (9.7%), and professional and business services (8.4%). The only major category with a year over year decrease in employment is government (-1.2%).

Compared to March 2020, the categories with the largest increases in employment are construction (11.6%), professional and business services (9.2%), and manufacturing (7.9%).

Employment in recent months has grown at an accelerated rate. Revised Labor Department data shows employment on the island not only surpassing pre-pandemic levels but reaching pre-Hurricane Maria levels. The last time non-farm payroll had reached 908,000 was in November 2014. This increase has been driven by large absolute increases in both retail employment and professional and business services.

With additional federal funds expected on the island, we can expect employment to remain steady throughout the year. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine having happened in March, and the associated inflation concerns and supply chain issues, we can expect a visible effect in March and April’s employment totals.

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