Puerto Rico economic report shows contraction
Puerto Rico’s August Economic Activity Index improved from a month earlier, though it fell from the same month a year earlier.
The August index value of 121.1 climbed 0.4% from July but was down 0.6% from August 2018, according to the Economic Development Bank for Puerto Rico.
The EDB noted that the index declined on a year-over-year basis for the third straight month after 11 months of continuous growth. The bank said the comparisons are with periods when the island’s electrical grid hadn’t yet been fully restored.
“Consequently, [the index] growth rate is approaching the behavior that existed prior to the hurricane,” the EDB said.
Compared with a year earlier, two of the index components rose and two fell. Non-farm payroll employment was up 1.6% and electric power generation grew by 5.1%. However, gasoline consumption was down 5.5% and cement sales shrank by 7.3%.
Excepting in 2012, the index had been falling fairly steadily from a peak around 157 in 2005 to a level of 121.3 in August 2017, before Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the island in September 2017.