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Puerto Rico Economy Profile 2018

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Economy - overviewPuerto Rico had one of the most dynamic economies in the Caribbean region until 2006; however, growth has been negative for each of the last 11 years. The downturn coincided with the phaseout of tax preferences that had led US firms to invest heavily in the Commonwealth since the 1950s, and a steep rise in the price of oil, which generates most of the island's electricity.

Diminished job opportunities prompted a sharp rise in outmigration, as many Puerto Ricans sought jobs on the US mainland. Unemployment reached 16% in 2011, but declined to 11.5% in December 2017. US minimum wage laws apply in Puerto Rico, hampering job expansion. Per capita income is about two-thirds that of the US mainland.

The industrial sector greatly exceeds agriculture as the locus of economic activity and income. Tourism has traditionally been an important source of income with estimated arrivals of more than 3.6 million tourists in 2008. Puerto Rico's merchandise trade surplus is exceptionally strong, with exports nearly 50% greater than imports, and its current account surplus about 10% of GDP.

Closing the budget deficit while restoring economic growth and employment remain the central concerns of the government. The gap between revenues and expenditures amounted to 0.6% of GDP in 2016, although analysts believe that not all expenditures have been accounted for in the budget and a better accounting of costs would yield an overall deficit of roughly 5% of GDP. Public debt remained steady at 92.5% of GDP in 2017, about $17,000 per person, or nearly three times the per capita debt of the State of Connecticut, the highest in the US. Much of that debt was issued by state-run schools and public corporations, including water and electric utilities. In June 2015, Governor Alejandro GARCIA Padilla announced that the island could not pay back at least $73 billion in debt and that it would seek a deal with its creditors.

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico square on in September 2017, causing electrical power outages to 90% of the territory, as well as extensive loss of housing and infrastructure and contamination of potable water. Despite massive efforts, more than 40% of the territory remained without electricity as of yearend 2017. As a result of the destruction, many Puerto Ricans have emigrated to the US mainland.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$127.3 billion (2017 est.)
$131 billion (2016 est.)
$134.5 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$103.2 billion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate-2.8% (2017 est.)
-2.6% (2016 est.)
-1.1% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$37,900 (2017 est.)
$38,400 (2016 est.)
$38,700 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 87.7%
government consumption: 12.2%
investment in fixed capital: 11.7%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 117.8%
imports of goods and services: -129.8% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 0.8%
industry: 50.1%
services: 49.1% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty lineNA%
Labor force1.139 million (December 2014 est)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 2.1%
industry: 19%
services: 79% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate11.5% (2017 est.)
11.8% (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 26.6%
male: 28.9%
female: 23.1% (2012 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budgetrevenues: $9.268 billion
expenditures: $9.974 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues9% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-0.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
Public debt91.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
91.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)1.1% (2017 est.)
-0.3% (2016 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate5% (31 December 2017 est.)
4% (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Agriculture - productssugarcane, coffee, pineapples, plantains, bananas; livestock products, chickens
Industriespharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, food products, tourism
Industrial production growth rate-2.1% (2017 est.)
Exports$73.16 billion (2017 est.)
$73.2 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditieschemicals, electronics, apparel, canned tuna, rum, beverage concentrates, medical equipment
Imports$49.01 billion (2017 est.)
$48.86 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditieschemicals, machinery and equipment, clothing, food, fish, petroleum products
Debt - external$56.82 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$52.98 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Exchange ratesthe US dollar is used
Fiscal year1 July - 30 June

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018