Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

August 2001: Is Puerto Rico in an Economic Slowdown?

An Analysis of Current Economic Indicators Provides the Answer

For the seventh consecutive time this year, the Federal Reserve has cut interest rates hoping that an easing in monetary policy could prevent the US economy from a recession. But the sharp slowdown in the US economy has already triggered a slowdown in the output of countries ranging from Latin America to Japan. Find out whether the Island economy is in a slowdown. How are companies and the consumer managing? If the US is in a `technical slump`, then what can we expect given the close relationship between the US and Puerto Rico`s economy? This issue analyzes what PR`s key monthly economic indicators are signaling in relation to the current pulse of the economy.

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

July 2001: Interface with Technology II

Towards a New Strategy of Economic Development

In the last issue, we presented a comparative analysis of what has been done in the field of R&D in Puerto Rico over the past several years, and the challenges that we still face today. The main challenge is how we can make Science and Technology influence the growth curve of our economy and improve its competitiveness. We have advanced somewhat in some areas, in others, such as education and our capacity for innovation there is still a lot to be done. As indicated before, Puerto Rico has the elements for success. The key here is how to build a critical mass and capabilities to achieve a new level of economic growth, to create a breakthrough from a dependent manufacturing economy to a self-sufficient industrial economy. The objective in this issue is what should be The Puerto Rico Solution.

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

June 2001: Interface with Technology

Steps in Transforming an Economy to Achieve New Levels of Growth

Much has been said and written in the past few years about the role and importance of science and technology in the economy, and their role in improving the capacity for innovation. In today`s world, the dynamics of the existing changes and requirements is testing the ability of our institutions to innovate, continuously learn, and change productively. The challenge is for Science and Technology to influence the slope of the growth curve of the economy, and improve its competitiveness. We have then knowledge, technology, and learning as keys to economic growth. Investment in these areas plays a major role in increasing standards of living, which is the ultimate goal. In this issue, the first of a two part series, we present our readers with an analysis of what has been done and were we are in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

May 2001: Slowdown in the US

Implications for Housing and Employment in the US and PR

In the summer of 2000, the miracle economy of the 90s began to falter. Real GDP growth slowed to a near-recession in the fourth quarter of 2000. Although growth has subsequently picked up in the first quarter of 2001, many analysts expect a downward revision to the first quarter number and a weaker second quarter. While an actual recession (commonly defined as two quarters of negative real GDP growth) is unlikely, if the weakening job market were to cause somewhat weakened consumer spending to pull back even further, recession becomes a possibility. Find out how Puerto Rico has been impacted by the US slowdown. With so much uncertainty, let`s examine the near-term outlook for two key sectors in the US and Puerto Rico: housing and jobs.

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

April 2001: The Hidden Sector

Economic Impact and Significance of the Non-Profit Sector in Puerto Rico

Philanthropy takes various forms. We have the direct monetary donations by individuals and corporations; volunteer work; and charitable acts performed by individuals and community organizations. Call it the invisible sector, the third sector, it is the non-profit sector, entities that provide an important service to the population. Little is known outside a few, about the social and economic dimension of this sector. They often rely on volunteers and have limited resources. How do we create an economic model to measure what they do? How do we determine their impact on society in terms of economic significance? How does it affect our tax dollars? A skeptic would narrow it down to – what`s in it if for me. By the end of this analysis, you will have a better idea of the importance of this sector.

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

March 2001: Economic Challenges Ahead

An Analysis of Puerto Rico`s Economy in 2000 and Outlook for 2001 & 2002

If 1999 was marked by record growth in the economy, pushed by expenditures related to Hurricane Georges, year 2000 reflected a more down to earth note. Although the growth rate was not insignificant, certain developments and events characterized our economy during 2000 that will influence the near term prospects as well as the direction of economic policy. For instance, a reduction in the rate of growth of construction investment, rise in consumer prices, loss of manufacturing jobs, rapid increases in oil prices, and not the least, the results of the November elections both here and in the US. In a previous issue, we examined the economic implications of the general election for PR. Let`s find out in detail what happened in 2000 and the prospects for the immediate future.

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

February 2001: Thou Shall Not

An Analysis of Puerto Rico’s New Banking & Insurance Laws

During this millennium year, the rules that defined the boundaries between insurance, investment banking, and commercial banking sectors for more than half a century are gone. Powered by the new federal law Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, businesses in these sectors are creating holding companies that will enable them to tap into each other’s markets. What are the advantages and disadvantages of commercial banking participation in the sale of insurance products? Learn the implications of the participation of the banking sector in the local insurance business in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

January 2001: The Housing Affair

Key Factors and Trends that Impact Housing Activity in Puerto Rico

The pace of home building in Puerto Rico during the 1990`s differs sharply from that of the previous decade. From 1980 to 1990, residential construction activity scarcely grew 3% a year. In the 1990`s, however, housing activity accelerated considerably and its importance in the economy increased. In light of this recent experience, an important economic question emerges: Will this faster growth of the 90`s continue in the years ahead, will it stabilize, or will it slow? Many economic factors affect housing. Among the most important of these factors is demographics – influences such as population growth, changes in the age structure, and changes in the formation of households. Find out how growth in the number of households will impact the demand for housing.

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

December 2000: The Legacy of 2000

A Review of Puerto Rico`s Top Economic Stories

What a year it was expected to be! By the start of 2000, interest rate fears plunged stocks on Wall Street. Companies all over the world spent billions of dollars to crush the millennium bug. Then, January 1 came and nothing happened! Year 2000 ends with a legacy of escalating oil prices, plunging world equity markets, the start of a US and PR economic slowdown, a reduction in local public investment, cost overruns in major infrastructure projects, spiraling costs of the Health Reform Plan, huge public debt, spiraling inflation, and fewer jobs. While, on balance, the PR economy posted positive growth of 3.1%, this trend is not expected in 2001. The results of the recent elections on the Island pose new policy and economic challenges. Find out how Puerto Rico`s top economic events shaped the economy in 2000.

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

November 2000: Blast-off to a New Economic Agenda

The Meaning of Election 2000 for the PR Economy

During the past month, Puerto Rico and the United States experienced one of the closest electoral contests in their histories. Multiple political and economic factors created an environment of uncertainty and anxiety over the economic future of these economies. Elections are over in PR but the US has been immersed in a deadlocked Presidential race. In Puerto Rico, the first woman to be elected Governor, Sila Calderón, prevailed by a wide margin. In contrast, the US Presidential winner, George W. Bush, will not have a clear mandate. Find out what the results of Election 2000 mean for the PR economy; how much will the new programs cost; what challenges Governor elect Calderón will face, and what impact, if any, the US electoral results will have on our economy?