Puerto Rico’s tourism industry breaks record for employed workers


Since the beginning of 2022, Puerto Rico has broken its own employment record in the recreation and accommodation sectors every month, thus accentuating the economic recovery exhibited by a large part of the Puerto Rican tourism industry after the difficulties suffered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The previous record of jobs in these sectors was registered in November 2015 with 82,300 workers. This record was initially set in November 2021 (83,000 jobs). As of January 2022, each month a figure has been registered that exceeds the previous record, reaching 86,700 workers in June of this year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, for its acronym in English).

Data for July has not yet been released by the federal agency. This level of employment occurs as many businesses confront shortfalls in their human resources and actively continue to recruit.

“These impressive employment figures reflect the incredible success our local tourism industry is having in growing tourism and creating new jobs, due in part to the collaboration between the public sector, the private sector and Discover Puerto Rico. Job creation is one of our most important metrics because it not only reflects economic growth, but also the impact that tourism has on our people,” said Brad Dean, executive director of Discover Puerto Rico.

“The tourism activity in Puerto Rico undoubtedly represents a great opportunity for well-paid jobs with great growth opportunities. One of the benefits of this industry is that it offers good jobs at all levels. We continue to see an encouraging outlook for tourism activity in Puerto Rico and we trust that this will continue in the remainder of 2022 and 2023,” said Clarissa Jiménez, president of the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association.
“Current employment statistics in the recreation and lodging lines confirm that the tourism industry in Puerto Rico continues to strengthen steadily. Thanks to the combined efforts of the public and private sectors, in recent months we have not only seen a sustained increase in jobs, but we have also achieved historic figures in room tax collections and in passengers passing through our airports,” said Carlos Mercados, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.
According to the BLS, in the last 12 months jobs in recreation and lodging increased by 15.4%. This is the highest percentage increase among all sectors for the same period. It is followed, with an increase of 9.6%, by the area of ​​professional and business services, which includes those who work in technical or scientific areas and those who offer administrative services.
In total, between January and June 2022, the tourism industry added 3,300 new jobs. This level of growth was surpassed only by the professional and business services sector. The latter added 8,400 new jobs in the same period, according to seasonally adjusted nonfarm wage employment data from the BLS.
This growth in the number of employees coincides with substantial improvements exhibited by the industry in areas such as lodging income, visitor expenses and room tax collections. Recent projections by the firm Tourism Economics indicate that, in the most conservative scenario, non-resident visitors to Puerto Rico will leave the island economy with $5,447 million. If it materializes, this would represent a growth of 18.9% compared to 2021.
This also occurs at a time when the investment in the promotion of Puerto Rico as a tourist destination increased to nearly $50 million with non-recurring federal contributions, with the launch of the new promotional campaign “Live Boricua” that highlights the cultural attractions of Puerto Rico. , and with the reactivation of the events and conventions industry.
“At the CTPR we continue to work hand in hand with our partners in the sector to facilitate the development of new tourism businesses and the expansion of operations of existing ones. At the same time, we foster excellence in the workforce through our program of training workshops and seminars for industry employees. All of this reaffirms the commitment of the Government of Puerto Rico to continue promoting the creation of jobs and the growth of the visitor’s economy,” added Mercado.