Puerto Rico: Economy#

Puerto Rico had one of the most dynamic economies in the Caribbean region until 2006; however, growth has been negative for each of the last nine 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 13.7% in December 2014. US minimum wage laws apply in Puerto Rico, hampering job expansion. Per capita income is about half 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 narrowed to 0.2% of GDP in 2014, 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 in 2014. Public debt rose to 105% of GDP in 2015, 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.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$131 billion (2016 est.)
$133.4 billion (2015 est.)
$133.4 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$100.9 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate-1.8% (2016 est.)
0% (2015 est.)
-1.4% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$37,700 (2016 est.)
$38,400 (2015 est.)
$37,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 89.7%
government consumption: 13.2%
investment in fixed capital: 12.4%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 116%
imports of goods and services: -131.8% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 0.8%
industry: 50.1%
services: 49.1% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productssugarcane, coffee, pineapples, plantains, bananas; livestock products, chickens
Industriespharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, food products, tourism
Industrial production growth rate-0.9% (2016 est.)
Labor force1.139 million (December 2014 est)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 2.1%
industry: 19%
services: 79% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate13.7% (December 2014 est.)
15% (December 2013 est.)
Population below poverty lineNA%
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budgetrevenues: $9.086 billion
expenditures: $9.684 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues9% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-0.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt92.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
96.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
Fiscal year1 July - 30 June
Inflation rate (consumer prices)-0.2% (2016 est.)
-0.3% (2015 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate4% (31 December 2016 est.)
3.3% (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Exports$70.41 billion (2016 est.)
$71.1 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditieschemicals, electronics, apparel, canned tuna, rum, beverage concentrates, medical equipment
Imports$47.61 billion (2016 est.)
$49.71 billion (2015 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