Federal statistics show Puerto Rico’s employment increased in recent months.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics household survey, Puerto Rico’s number of employed increased 0.7% in March from February. According to BLS’s survey of non-farm establishments, employment went up 0.3% in the period.

Though the household survey only shows a single month of increase after several months of decline, the establishment survey shows three consecutive months of increases.

From September 2020 to March the household survey shows that employment declined 0.9%. No data was collected for March and April 2020. From February 2020 to March this survey shows a decline in 0.7%. Over the long term, from March 2016 to March the survey shows a decline of 3.5%.

The establishment survey is more positive about the last six months but more negative about the last 12 months. It shows that from September 2020 to March employment was up 1.6%. Nevertheless, establishment survey data indicates employment was down 4.1% from March 2020 and 4.7% from March 2016.

The establishment survey also provides information about private sector employment. Like all the establishment survey data, it excludes the self-employed. From September 2020 to March private sector employment was up 3%. However, from March 2020 to March this employment was down 4%.

Bondholders and the Puerto Rico Oversight Board have pointed to trends in the local economy to bolster their position on how generous bond settlement should be.

The March unemployment rate was 8.8%. This compares to 8.6% in September 2020, 9% in February 2020, and 11.5% in March 2016. Since this is from the household survey, no rate is available for March 2020.

All data in this story have been seasonally adjusted.