Stagnant 3Q job market seen for PR
From July to September, 14 percent of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees, while 19 percent expect to reduce their payrolls. Another 67 percent expect to maintain their current staff levels.
This yields a net employment outlook of -5 percent. [Manpower’s net employment outlook is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity.]
“Employers’ hiring plans for the third quarter are more sluggish compared to the second quarter when the net employment outlook was 4 percent,” said Manpower spokeswoman Karen Cortiella.
For the coming quarter, job prospects appear best in wholesale & retail trade; financial activities; education & health services and leisure & hospitality.
Employers in construction; durable goods manufacturing, non-durable goods manufacturing; transportation & utilities; professional & business services; and other services plan to reduce staffing levels, while hiring in information and government is expected to remain unchanged.
Puerto Rico’s overall unemployment rate fell to 13.8 percent in June, stretching the run of joblessness decreases to 14 months.
The June number marks the first time Puerto Rico’s unemployment has been below 14 percent since January 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics (BLS). BLS data shows that Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate has fallen every month since April 2011, and has posted a sustained decrease on a same-month comparison since March 2010. The jobless rate in June 2006, when Puerto Rico’s long recession was still taking root, was 10.7 percent.
Still, Puerto Rico’s job scene remains cloudy as the run of unemployment rate decreases is due in large part to the exit of frustrated job-seekers who drop efforts to find work. The labor-participation rate was just 39.6 percent in June, down from 40.5 percent a year ago. The island’s labor-participation rate at the onset of the recession in 2006 was above 47 percent, but has been trending lower and trails far behind the U.S. average, which tops 65 percent.
Puerto Rico’s murky jobs scene remains an issue of serious concern despite signs the island may finally be pulling out of its long economic doldrums, New York Federal Reserve President William C. Dudley said during an address to the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce convention in June.
“High unemployment and low labor-force participation remain perhaps the biggest challenges to the Puerto Rico economy,” said Dudley, noting that even in relatively prosperous times, the unemployment rate on the island has been more than double the rate of the U.S. mainland.
Total employment fell by about 13 percent, or roughly 140,000 jobs, between its peak in 2005 and mid-2010. This is nearly double the 7 percent job loss on the mainland U.S. For the past two years, employment has appeared to have bottomed out, but there has been little evidence of recovery, Dudley said.
“The island’s unemployment rate has fallen by more than a percentage point over the past year, but this isn’t necessarily good news,” Dudley said. “The fall was largely the result of a fall in labor-force participation.”