Economic activity on the rise in Puerto Rico . . . hopefully

The Economic Development Bank of Puerto Rico (EDB), which took over the administration of certain economic statistics for the now defunct Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico, released the most updated data from its Economic Activity Index (EAI) this week.

Good news: according to the agency's data, economic activity has increased month-over-month for the entire year to date. 

  Source: https://www.bde.pr.gov/BdeSite/PREDDOCS/EDB_EAI.pdf

Source: https://www.bde.pr.gov/BdeSite/PREDDOCS/EDB_EAI.pdf

While the index is still not on par with the pre-disaster levels of 2017, it has shown an unexpected resilience in the face of numerous obstacles including out-migration, lack of electricity and damaged infrastructure for much of the island over the same time period, and a general sense of investor wariness. 

Many economists expected a continued economic decline through at least some portion of 2018.  

Combined with a steady labor force (see yellow arrow below) in recent months and improvements in employment (green arrow) and, subsequently, the unemployment rate (red arrow), and economic indicators point to a generally positive trend over the first third of 2018.  

  Source:   https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LASST720000000000003

Source: https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LASST720000000000003

Let's hope it continues.

Justin Vélez-Hagan is the executive director of The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce and the author of The Common Sense behind Basic Economics, as well as the upcoming The Paradox of Fiscal Austerity.