(Adds components of index)
NEW YORK Aug 4 A measure of economic activity
in Puerto Rico fell for a eighteenth straight month in June as a
decline in public sector jobs outweighed gains in key private
sector indicators, the U.S. commonwealth's Government
Development Bank said on Monday.
Puerto Rico's economic activity index fell 1.0 percent
year-over-year in June. The GDB said the fall was due entirely
to fewer public sector jobs. It said June 2014 was the first
month since July 2012 in which cement sales, electricity
generation, gasoline consumption and private employment all
increased simultaneously on a year-over-year basis.
Puerto Rico is struggling to kick-start its sluggish
economy. The island has a debt load of over $70 billion and is
expected to start restructuring some of that in the coming
The "decrease in public sector employment was primarily
driven by policy decision to reduce the fiscal deficit," the GDB
said in a statement. "Private employment increased by 0.8
percent on a year-over-year basis."
The public payroll fell 6.5 percent year-on-year in June,
representing 16,500 fewer jobs than the same period last year.
The private payroll in June, at 681,200, was the highest
since June 2008, the GDB said. Still, total non-farm payrolls in
June averaged 918,800, an annual decrease of 1.2 percent.
Employment fell 1.3 percent during the 2014 financial year
compared to the previous year.
The island's other three key economic indicators, electric
power generation, gasoline consumption, and cement sales, all
showed year-over-year gains in June, the report said.
Cement sales showed their first annual increase since August
2012, rising 4.3 percent to 1.26 million bags in June. Gasoline
consumption climbed 1.4 percent to 78 million gallons, while
electric power generation totaled 1.8 billion kilowatt hours, an
increase of 1.9 percent.
Puerto Rico's benchmark general obligation bonds
traded at 89.875 cents on the dollar on Monday,
representing a yield of 9.089 percent. That was a slight decline
in prices from Friday when the same bonds traded at 90 cents to
yield 9.074 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and