New information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Puerto Rico is continuing to lose jobs.
The numbers cover the year from September 2013 to September 2014. In the United States as a whole, there was a 2% increase in jobs over that time period. Puerto Rico’s employment fell by 1.5% and San Juan in particular saw a 1.8% drop.
The municipality of San Juan is the only region that met the U.S. Census Bureau definition of a “large county,” and it is responsible for about 28% of all the jobs in Puerto Rico. The jobs in San Juan are also higher paid, on average, than those of Puerto Rico as a whole. In Puerto Rico in general in this time frame, the average weekly wage was $505. In San Juan, it was $603, nearly 20% higher. Las Piedras at $605, Guaynabo at $630, and Juncos with the high of $868 were the only municipalities with a higher average weekly wage than San Juan. Thirty-one municipalities had weekly wages averaging less that $400 a week.
In the U.S. (not including Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands), the average weekly wage was $949, a 2.9% increase year over year. In Mississippi, which had the lowest weekly wage of any state, the weekly average was $697.
Puerto Rico also showed an increase in wages: 1.3% in San Juan and 0.8% in Puerto Rico as a whole.
These are numbers to keep in mind when you hear people say that Puerto Rico would lose its economic advantages if it became a state.