Puerto Rico reports lowest unemployment in 50 years
Puerto Rico’s monthly unemployment figure dropped in July to its lowest point in half a century, according to new government figures.
Unemployment reached 9.1 percent in July, down from 9.3 percent in June and 10.3 percent in July 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced the numbers in a press conference in San Juan on Friday, according to local newspaper El Nuevo Día.
The territory’s number of active laborers was the highest since February 2013, with just over a million Puerto Ricans employed.
The July labor participation rate was 41 percent, a 0.1 percent dip from June, but a 1.4 percent raise compared to July 2017.
Puerto Rico’s population has decreased significantly over the past decade, as locals seek out opportunities in the continental United States to escape prolonged economic distress.
Residents of Puerto Rico are natural-born U.S. citizens and can freely move and work anywhere in the country.
Puerto Rico’s economy is estimated to shrink by about 2.1 percent in 2018, in the wake of reconstruction after Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the island in 2017.
But Rosselló said the employment statistics show the island is reaching a turning point toward economic growth.
“Puerto Rico is in economic recovery and the instruments of investment and exports, and the instruments to facilitate work, are functioning,” said Rosselló.
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