The San Juan Star reports that Puerto Rico’s Economic Activity Index (IAE) for September increased by 2.7% year over year. This makes seven months in a row in which Puerto Rico’s economic activity has increased.

The IAE had shown decreases for 12 straight months before it began to rally. This reflects the effects theCOVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic

Puerto Rico continues to face the pandemic, like the rest of the world. As of this writing, Puerto Rico has has had 222,000 total cases and 3,270 deaths. 74% of the population is fully vaccinated, outpacing every state. 90% of youth have been vaccinated, compared with just half in the states.

Restrictions have eased somewhat, but masks are still mandatory and certain businesses can as for proof of vaccinations in Puerto Rico. This kind vigilance from the beginning has helped to keep Puerto Rico’s case numbers low compared with states having similar populations.

There is reason to be optimistic about Puerto Rico’s ability to come out of the pandemic stronger.

Employment

Unemployment in Puerto Rico currently stands at 8%, almost twice the rate in the states, which is currently 4.2%.

However, this is just half the unemployment rate in January of 2011.It is also the lowest unemployment rate figure since the beginning of the pandemic.

Does this mean that Puerto Rico’s status is no longer a problem for the Island’s economy? Not at all. While some states have worse unemployment rates than others, Puerto Rico’s is worse than any of the states.

All information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Challenges

The Center for a New Economy warns against premature optimism, which could keepPuerto Rico from recognizing that some of its economic improvement is a temporary result of recovery funds. “Let’s avoid that trap,” they say, “and keep focused on addressing the structural factors that are the root cause of Puerto Rico’s long-term economic stagnation.”

Puerto Rico’s territory status is the largest structural factor causing long-term economic stagnation. Together, we can work toward statehood and overcome this disadvantage.

 

 

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