Puerto Rico’s Economic Activity Index for May and June 2020 reflect month-on-month reductions of 3.5% and 0.8% and decreases of 10.2% and 10.8% when compared with the same months of the previous year.

The separate monthly reports published by the Puerto Rico Economic Development Bank are the third and fourth consecutive declines after 20 months of year-on-year increases.

Slump seen in key indicators
The seasonally adjusted EDB-EAI is made up of four indicators: total non-farm payroll employment reflected in the establishment survey; total electric power generation in millions of kilowatt-hours (kWh); cement sales in millions of 94-pound bags; and gas consumption in millions of gallons.

Two indicators, gas consumption and total nonfarm payroll employment, were heavily impacted by the Covid-19 slump.

Gasoline consumption in May totaled 59 million gallons — 10.7 percent below the amount consumed in April, and 22 percent less compared to May 2019. Moreover, such fuel consumption dropped to 52.1 million gallons in June or by 11.7 percent on a month-to-month basis, and by 30.1 percent in an annualized basis.

Total non-farm payroll employment on the island averaged 781,400 employees for May and 800,900 employees during June – figures that represent increases of 2.3 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively, on a month-to-month basis, but constitute annualized reductions of 11 percent for May and of 8.9 percent for June, according to the EDB report.

In contrast, the indicators for cement sales and electric power generation increased during the period.

In preliminary report figures, electric power generation for May totaled 1,579.5 million kWh — a 4.5 percent increase in a month-to-month basis, and an annual upturn of 1.1 percent. For June, power totaled 1,604.2 million kWh, or a 1.6 percent increment on a month-to-month basis, and a 1.2 percent growth rate when compared to the same month from the previous year.

Cement sales totaled 1.3 million 94-pound bags for May, constituting a 191.1 percent increase on a month-to-month basis, according to the EDB report, which states that such sales rose by 21.9 percent when compared to May 2019. During June, sales of 94-pound bags of cement reached 1.4 million, representing a 7.2 percent increase on a month-to-month basis, and a 19.1 percent climb when compared to June 2019.

The EDB-EAI had been decreasing on an annual basis before the 2017 hurricanes struck the island, with the last annual increase registered in 2012.