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Puerto Rico Updates Progress On Economic Roadmap

New Job Commitments in Key Sectors Surpass 21,000 as of January 2014, Up 50% Since August 2013

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Feb. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New investment and the planned expansion of existing businesses has resulted in private sector commitments to create 21,100 new jobs in Puerto Rico — a 50 percent improvement on the outlook last summer, according to figures compiled by the Department of Economic Development & Commerce (DEDC) today.

DEDC, the lead agency for economic development on the island, closely tracks with private sector employment plans. As of January, employers were on track to create 21,100 new jobs, compared to projections for 13,900 new jobs in August.  With nearly 9,000 potential new jobs in the pipeline from investments under negotiation, Puerto Rico is on track to meet its Five-Year Economic Roadmap targets of directly creating 25,000 new jobs in priority sectors by the end of 2014 and nearly 60,000 new jobs by 2017.

The growth in committed jobs was driven by significant new investments planned or announced by a wide range of companies in the life sciences, knowledge sciences, aerospace, tourism and other sectors, as well as the growth or new formation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which account for one third of the new job commitments. Companies that have recently announced new investments or expansions in Puerto Rico include: Infosys, Lilly, IBM / True North, CooperVision, and Covidien

"While there is much more to be done, our economic roadmap is delivering real and tangible progress in creating jobs, diversifying the Island's economic base and enhancing Puerto Rico's long-term competitiveness," said Alberto Bacó Bagué, Secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce. "As Puerto Rico aggressively addresses the financial and fiscal challenges that have built up over the years, far-sighted businesses and investors are seizing opportunities, attracted by Puerto Rico's highly-skilled workforce, world-class infrastructure and the advantages of a U.S. jurisdiction."

In addition to significant new job growth, DEDC reported positive trends across a range of metrics in Puerto Rico's growing tourism sector, including a more than 12% jump in cruise ship passenger visits in 2013, as well as improvements in hotel occupancy, average room rates and airport passenger traffic. The trend is expected to continue as the global economy improves and Puerto Rico continues to add air and sea routes, and new hotel capacity.

The Economic Roadmap's strategic initiatives are expected to directly or indirectly contribute to the creation of nearly 140,000 jobs by the end of 2017, potentially adding $11 billion to the Commonwealth's GDP and generating $350-500 million in additional tax revenue.

About DEDC

The Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DEDC) is responsible for implementing and supervising the execution of Puerto Rico's public policy on economic development in the various entrepreneurial sectors of manufacture, commerce, tourism, and services. In addition, the Department is responsible for promoting a stable and sustainable private sector that considers the globalization of today's economy. The Department is committed to the implementation of strategies that foster investment, create jobs and improve the quality of life on the island. The DEDC is composed of 11 government instrumentalities that include agencies and public corporations focused on different economic sectors and initiatives.

SOURCE Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DEDC)

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