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Posts Tagged ‘Caribbean’


What planet is FOX’s John Stossel on? This weekend, Stossel had Republican and pro-statehood Puerto Rican governor Luis Fortuño on to discuss the “economic miracle” or Puerto Rico. Stossel proudly stated in his fluff interview with Fortuño that the Puerto Rican economy was growing due to Fortuño’s austerity measures.

The fact that Stossel didn’t even address the fact that Puerto Rico under the Fortuño administration has been stuck at double-digit unemployment with a shrinking labor force is an issue with his lack of journalism. Just create a more balanced view the next time and stop the overhyping. Basic fact checking could take you far.

According to the CIA’s World Factbook, Puerto Rico’s GDP in 2010  was -5.8%(the last recorded year, which was worse than the island -3.7% in 2009, which was worse that the island -2.5% in 2008).

As the CIA says:

Puerto Rico has one of the most dynamic economies in the Caribbean region, however, growth has been negative for the past four years, and unemployment has risen to nearly 16% in 2011. The industrial sector has surpassed agriculture as the primary locus of economic activity and income. Mainland US firms have invested heavily in Puerto Rico since the 1950s. US minimum wage laws apply. Sugar production has lost out to dairy production and other livestock products as the main source of income in the agricultural sector. Tourism has traditionally been an important source of income with estimated arrivals of more than 3.6 million tourists in 2008. Closing the budget deficit while restoring economic growth and employment remain the central concerns of the government.

Also this graph shows that the island’s GDP has been going down since 2005.

Another financial analysis by an independent group states the following:

The official PR Planning Board macroeconomic forecast for 2012 estimate a modest recovery of less than 1%.  US Stimulus funds received in 2008-2010 in the amount of $4.8BN have led to an increase in Personal Income within a period of reduction in GDP, exports, investment and credit concession.
Our main concern is that given high and increasing levels of debt, prolonged structural recession, reduction in pharmaceutical exports due to patent expiration and need to strengthen the banking system and credit flows while addressing real estate loan portfolios and market price adjustments, US financial regulatory institutions, private sector leaders and the Government of Puerto Rico need to aspire to and implement a comprehensive and high quality policy strategy, focusing on integrated macroeconomic, fiscal and financial system performance and proposing changes in structural impediments to optimal investment, labor market participation, reductions in operational costs and improved human capital investment returns.
Puerto Rico’s economy is climbing out of its marathon recession at a slighter quicker pace than expected this year.
That was the word Thursday from the Planning Board, which said the economy is on pace to grow by a modest 0.9 percent during fiscal 2012. That is narrowly ahead of the agency’s earlier estimate of 0.7 percent for the year, which ends June 30.
The upturn will mark the first annual growth in Puerto Rico’s economy since the onset of the local recession in 2006.
Puerto Rico’s economy contracted 1 percent in fiscal 2011 after shrinking 3.8 percent in fiscal 2010, 4 percent in fiscal 2009, 2.9 percent in fiscal 2008 and 1.2 percent in fiscal 2007, according to Planning Board numbers.
The island economy was last on positive footing in fiscal 2006, when it posted 0.5 percent growth, down from 1.9 percent the previous year.
The Planning Board said Thursday it expects the economic rebound to gain ground in fiscal 2013, projecting growth to edge up to 1.1 percent.
“We have seen the light at the end of the tunnel for some time,” Planning Board President Rubén Flores Marzan said. “But now we are essentially pulling out of the tunnel.”
So basically, the irony of all this is that Fortuño will take any sliver of good news spin, just like President Obama. The fact remains: Puerto Rico has been in the NEGATIVE for years. Any “growth” would be still keep you in a historical negative place. The challenge is true economic transformation that is bipartisan and works for everyone on the island. Let’s put the FOX NEWS pom-poms away. Fortuño’s legacy will be mixed, if that. All we ask is for better and true accountability, a true no-spin zone.
Will voters see the whole picture of the Puerto Rican economy? Will it be enough for another four more years of Fortuño? That is the question.

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Today, Puerto Rico’s online news portal, primerahora.com, ran an article in Spanish confirming that the island continues to face a decreasing population, according to the 2010 US Census and new 2011 figures. In fact, when compared to all 50 states of the Union, Puerto Rico would be ranked by far as the place to have suffered the largest population loss.

Here is a quick translation of the original Spanish article:

Puerto Rico’s population continues to decline and lost another 19,100 people between April 2010 and July 2011, according to estimates offered this week by the United States Census Bureau.

The first estimates published by the agency since the 2010 Census set the population of Puerto Rico as of July 2011 at 3,706,690. This figure is 19,099 fewer people than the estimated figure for April 2010, the month that was used as a basis for comparison.

The document estimated that around 35,000 inhabitants left the island and migrated. Interestingly, the study classifies migration between Puerto Rico and the U.S. as “international.”

For this same period, the Census Bureau estimated an increase of 2.8 million for the U.S., representing an increase of 0.92 percent. The U.S. population was estimated at 311.6 million for July 2011. Only three U.S. states reported a population decline during this period of 15 months and all well below that of Puerto Rico’s loss: Rhode Island (1,300), Michigan (7,400) and Maine (200).

The “natural growth” of the population of Puerto Rico during those months was 16,370 people, as a result of more births than deaths. The large number of people who left the country far exceeded the “natural growth,” casting the negative balance that highlights this report.

Product of Depression

“What has happened in Puerto Rico is that the depression has been loud and long, which is generating a strong migration to the United States,” said economist Jose Alameda.”Furthermore, the pattern of net births is declining,” he said.

“What worries most is that the people of Puerto Rico are usually educated … human capital has been reduced by migration,” he said. “That started between 2005 and 2006 as part of the depression. As there are no jobs for anyone, people migrate,” he said.

The economist expressed concern that as these figures show is that Puerto Rico’s economy is shrinking. “There is less human capital, shops close, and it also creates the problem that property has seen a decrease in value,” Alameda said.

The demographer Raúl Figueroa agreed that the economic situation is causing a negative migration in the country. “There are push factors right now,” he said. “Puerto Rico does not have many pull factors. There is no job or no crime situation that makes it attractive for people to come back, we’re seeing that people (who left the island) are not coming back,” he added.

“We must work for these people to return to Puerto Rico. People who are leaving are many young people under 40 years old, which causes a reduction in the workforce,” said Figueroa.

He noted, moreover, that the increase in migration is also “very particular situation of Puerto Rico, because we can travel freely to the United States.”

He predicted that “the population will continue to decline for several years. Migration is very high and the natural growth has been declining over the past 20 years. Births have been reduced,” he said.

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Press Release (Spanish Version Here)

Monday, December 19, 2011 San Juan, PR: Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño, along with the Presidents of the House of Representatives and the Senate, announced tonight that after receiving input from the different sectors that have participated in public hearings held at the Legislature that fostered greater participation of the island’s residents in a fair, reasonable, and inclusive manner, agreed to amend the island’s plebiscite status process.

“The amendments discussed and we are announcing today will permit that on the day of the vote, the first phase of the the plebiscite will consist of two questions on the same ballot. We decided that the questions that our constituents will be able to vote on will be detailed as follows:

First: Do you want to maintain the current territorial political status?

Second, voters will select from the following non-territorial options: statehood, independence and sovereign commonwealth, Fortuño said.

“The agreed process includes the main recommendations of the White House Task Force on Puerto Rico. It also addresses the concerns of various groups and members of all parties who participated in the discussion prompted by legislative bodies, which have requested that this process is a simple, fair, and inclusive,” the Chief Executive said.

“This way, all formulas will be represented on the same ballot and in the same query. Similarly, the agreed amendments result in savings for the people of Puerto Rico and will foster a fair and equitable distribution of public funds to the entitled parties or groups who choose to participate in the Consultation,” the Governor added.

Finally, it was noted that the Legislative Reform Consultation for the country will be held on August 19, 2012.

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