SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Puerto Rico’s only large county, the municipio of San Juan, reported an employment loss of 2.9 percent from September 2012 to September 2013, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Monday.
(Large counties are defined as those with employment of 75,000 or more as measured by 2012 annual average employment.)
Chief regional economist Martin Kohli noted that, in September 2013, San Juan’s employment level of 255,000 accounted for 28.0 percent of total employment in the commonwealth.
In the United States, employment grew 1.7 percent over the year, as 286 of the 334 largest US counties gained jobs (see chart 1). The 334 largest counties made up 71.4 percent of total US employment.
The average weekly wage in San Juan was $598 in the third quarter of 2013, 0.3 percent lower than a year ago. By comparison, the US weekly wage increased 1.9 percent over the year to $922 (see table 1 and chart 2).
Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 77 municipios in Puerto Rico with employment below 75,000. All 77 had wages below the US average of $922.
Juncos, at $871, had the highest average weekly wage. Guaynabo and Barceloneta had weekly wages above $600. The three municipios with average weekly wages exceeding $600 were located on the northern and eastern parts of the island. Thirty-five municipios had average weekly wages below $400, with roughly half of these low-wage municipios located in the western end of the island, including Aguada, Lares (each at $326), and Las Marias ($310).
In the neighboring US Virgin Islands, average weekly wages were also below the US average. The highest average weekly wage among the three US Virgin Island counties was $718 in St Thomas.
Average weekly wages on St Croix and St John were $698 and $645, respectively, well above wage averages in most of Puerto Rico’s municipios.
Though employment on each island was below 25,000, more than half of the territory’s 37,900 jobs in September 2013 were on St Thomas, and an additional 14,600 were on St Croix.