Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

November 2009: The Female Face of Labor

Participation of women in the labor market in Puerto Rico

Of the 1.673 million women age 16 years and over in CY 2008 in PR, 610,000, or 36.5%, were labor force participants—working or looking for work. They are projected to account for 44% of the labor force by 2020. Of 177,000 self-employed in 2008, 43,000 or 24% were women. The unemployment rate for women was 4.4% compared to 7% for men. This is no small accomplishment since their labor force participation rate in 1970 was a meager 29%. Over the same period, the rate for men fell gradually from 71% in 1970 to 55% in 2008. Find out which economic sector provided more jobs to these women; which occupation has the largest percentage of female employed in PR; whether education played a role in this increasing participation; and if they are earning as much as their male counterparts. In addition, this article discusses the impact of the current fiscal policy on female labor participants.