Puerto Rico Economic Forecast

Puerto Rico Economic Outlook

December 3, 2019

The economy appears to remain scarred this fiscal year, which started in July, by the devasting effects caused by Hurricanes Maria and Irma which struck the island two years ago, as well as by the ongoing shrinkage of the labor force and the weakness of the government’s finances. Economic activity decreased annually for the fourth consecutive month in October, according to monthly data from the Economic Development Bank for Puerto Rico, although the decrease in October was the smallest in that four-month period. On a brighter note, the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in October remained close to September’s multi-decade low of 7.6%, although this was partly due to the decreasing size of the workforce. The number of registered stays in hotels also rose strongly in annual terms in July–August.

Puerto Rico Economic Growth

Economic growth is seen moderating in FY 2020 on tighter government spending, although ongoing island re-building efforts should cushion the slowdown. A dwindling population due to emigration, fragile government finances and a high risk of natural disasters all weigh on the outlook. Our panelists forecast that GNP will expand 0.7% in FY 2020, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, before slowing to 0.4% in FY 2021.

Puerto Rico Economy Data

Population (million)
GNP per capita (USD)19,18819,46320,04020,54421,053
GNP (USD bn)68.968.869.670.070.0
Economic Growth (GNP, annual variation in %)-0.1-1.8-0.8-1.6-3.0
Unemployment Rate14.014.313.011.711.5
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-  -  -  -  -  
Public Debt (% of GDP)94.297.895.191.891.7
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)0.41.5-
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)0.90.9-0.3-0.20.6
Current Account (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance (USD bn)
Trade Balance (USD billion)17.319.726.428.425.2
Exports (USD billion)62.462.369.571.771.1
Imports (USD billion)45.142.643.143.345.9
Exports (annual variation in %)6.9-
Imports (annual variation in %)-3.2-

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