In general, we know that things are not going so well in Puerto Rico right now. There has been some optimism as the PROMESA fiscal oversight board gets going, but there have also been protests. The current governor has predicted a “financial death spiral,” but there will soon be a new governor. It’s hard to predict what will happen next in the mixture of hope and anxiety we see in the news.

Let’s look at just one factor. How are things going in terms of employment? The chart below shows the most current data, the numbers for September 2016. We see that employment is down and unemployment is up.

Employment 1,003.9 998.0
Unemployment 128.3 134.7
Unemployment Rate 11.3 11.9

We’ve said it before: if the current status were good for Puerto Rico, we would see it in the economy.

The highest unemployment rate in the states? Alaska… at 6.9. There is no state with an unemployment rate of two digits. Alaska was a territory until the middle of the 20th century. Hawaii, the other most recent territory, has an unemployment rate of 3.3%.

Mississippi, New Mexico, and Louisiana also have unemployment rates of six and a fraction, leaving 46 states with unemployment levels that are less than half that of Puerto Rico. Florida, a state where many people from Puerto Rico have chosen to settle, has 4.7% unemployment. New York, another state with a large Puerto Rican community, has just 5% unemployment. New Hampshire and North Dakota both have unemployment rates of 2.9%.

In short, no state is even close to Puerto Rico’s level of unemployment. If the current territorial status were good for Puerto Rico, we would not be seeing numbers like this.

Think about this when you go to vote in November.



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