The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported on employment in the municipality of San Juan, sharing figures that showed that job loss continues to be a big problem in Puerto Rico, including its capital city.
The agency has now released a report on wages in Ponce, using data from 2014. Workers in the major city of the territory’s south coast make, on average, about 47% less than workers in the nation as a whole.
The difference is greater in some fields; for example, construction workers in Ponce make 58% less than the average in the United States, as do healthcare and tech workers. Architects, engineers, and transportation workers make only about one third less.
No workers in the data collected earned more in Ponce than in the country as a whole.
Having lower wages might not make a difference to the quality of life if the cost of living were much lower than in the States. However, Numbeo tells us this is not the case. Rents in Ponce, for example are lower than those in Abilene, Texas, Augusta, Georgia, and Overland Park, Kansas but gas is almost 22% higher than Abiline, 41% higher than Augusta, and 22% higher than Overland Park.
History has shown that territories that become States become more prosperous than they were as territories. It’s time for Puerto Rico to benefit from statehood.