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Panorama econòmic

Economic indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Puerto Rico's GDP decreased by an estimated 0.6% in 2021, as the pandemic aggravated the country’s economic and social crisis, which had already been deepened by the hurricanes and earthquakes that hit the island in 2017 and early 2020, respectively. Looking ahead, the economy is expected to continue a gradual recovery in the coming years, although growth rates shouldn't reach pre-pandemic levels in the short term. According to he IMF, Puerto Rico's GDP is expected to have a negative growth of 0.3% in 2022 and 2023, as the country's economic performance will still be overshadowed by uncertainty brought on by  the pandemic, the USD 90 billion in damages caused by Hurricane Maria, and the bankruptcy of the central government.

The Puerto Rican economy has been suffering a recession for over a decade, which has led to high levels of debt. In 2021, public debt represented 52.4% of GDP, a rate that is expected to gradually increase to 53.7% of GDP in 2022 and 55.9% of GDP in 2023. Inflation increased to 4% in 2021, but it is expected to decrease to 1.9% in 2022 and 1.4% in 2023. The island has been grappling with the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history (USD 71.5 billion in bonds and USD 50 billion in pension bonds) since 2017, when the economy was devastated by Hurricane Maria. There was a bounce-back in 2019, fuelled by disaster relief funding, which was expected to continue as more federal reconstruction funding rebuilt the island’s infrastructure. However, the pandemic let to a redistribution of funding. To mitigate the impact of COVID-19, the government implemented a series of fiscal measures, which include an increase in Medicaid federal funding and health spending, a temporary postponement of income tax payments, and the allocation of funds to compensate various economic sectors and industries for the business interruption losses (such as the tourism industry, small and medium sized businesses, and self-employed individuals). Although both the sanitary and fiscal measures implemented by the governement in light of the pandemic have been effective, Puerto Rico was already facing significant economic issues when the pandemic hit, so the impact of COVID-19 compounded on a preexisting crisis. Still, despite a complicated situation, the government seeks to increase foreign investment through public-private partnerships and avoid the downgrading of its credit rating, so as not to lose access to financing.

The unemployment rate remained stable in 2020, at an estimated 8.7%. However, many Puerto Ricans have informal jobs that do not qualify them for unemployment benefits and, due to the pandemic, a large percentage of informal workers lost their jobs, which drove them into poverty. Additionally, the overall lack of opportunities in the island has resulted in significant migration outflows, as an increasing number of Puerto Ricans continue to emigrate to the United States. With the destruction of nearly half a million homes after hurricane Maria and increased unemplyment brought on by the pandemic, nearly half of the population still lives below the poverty line. The island has also been dealing with a wave of violence and crime, primarily linked to gang activity and drug trafficking. Furthermore, in January 2021, the government declared a state of emergency due to gender-based violence, after a wave of killings targeting women and transgender people.

 
GDP Indicators 201920202021 (e)2022 (e)2023 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 104.92e103.14e106.58108.27109.51
GDP (constant prices, annual % change) 1.5e-3.9e-0.6-0.3-0.3
GDP per capita (USD) 32,786e32,645e34,14335,10635,940
General government gross debt (in % of GDP) 50.2e52.6e52.453.755.9
Inflation rate (%) 0.1-0.5e4.01.91.4
Unemployment rate (% of the labor force) 8.38.9e8.78.58.3
Current Account (billions USD) 0.000.000.000.000.00
Current account (in % of GDP) 0.00.00.00.00.0

Font: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, 2016

Note: (e) Estimated data

 
Monetary indicators 20162017201820192020
U.S Dollar (USD) - Average annual exchange rate for 1 EUR 1.061.131.181.121.14

Font: World Bank, 2015

 

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Actualitzacions: April 2022

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