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?

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

October 2000: Election 2000

Inside the economic platforms of PR`s political parties

Puerto Rico`s economic development has been inexorably linked to its political status. Although the island still has profound ideological divisions to settle, the fundamental differences among the current political parties are essentially based on the implementation of alternatives for economic development in the Island. These have ranged from industrialization in the early 50`s to the Petrochemical complex in Guayanilla in the 70`s along with Section 936 in the late 70`s and 80`s to the Tourism industry in the 90`s. Find out how the choice made in the 2000 election may influence for many years the direction of public policy and the institutions of government.

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

September 2000: Manufacturing Productivity Growth in the US

A Key to the “New Economy”

Faster productivity growth has been a principle reason for the U.S. economy`s stellar performance since the mid-90s. A major factor in the overall economy`s improved productivity performance has been the even more impressive productivity performance in the manufacturing sector. Why has productivity growth in manufacturing outstripped that of the economy as a whole? What industries have been the leaders? Why have these industries been the leaders? Find out more about the manufacturing productivity renaissance, a key to the `new economy.`

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

August 2000: Oil Prices Strike Again

Will they bring the PR economy down?

World oil prices by OPEC and the subsequent increases in gasoline prices and electricity bills have taken center stage. Between March 1999 and June 2000, the average monthly world price of a barrel of oil increased from $14.72 to $30.27. This increase is not demand-driven since world consumption, measured in millions of daily barrels, only increased 1.7% on an annual basis during the past five years. What are the factors leading to this steep increase in prices? How will this oil turmoil impact PR? Are gasoline prices really high locally compared to other countries? Find out if we are less vulnerable now than before to oil price shocks?

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

July 2000: Cyberspace goes Wireless

Will Puerto Ricans go online anywhere at anytime?

Tired of owning 5 remote controls: one for TV, another for VCR, another for DVD…The consumer electronics revolution has just begun and people are beginning to own complicated gadgets, serving many functions in one small unit.  The new generation of mobile phones comes equipped with internet access.  Why are mobile phone companies pursuing Internet access?  Learn about Puerto Rico`s booming Internet business. What factors led the Internet to penetrate Puerto Rico faster than the rest of the world and how will this impact the evolution of Puerto Rican cyberspace?  Finally, find out how wireless Internet access will expand Puerto Rico`s cybernetic population even more.

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

June 2000: All Aboard!

Will Puerto Rico embrace the train with a passion?

Over a hundred years ago, Puerto Rico operated many trains. Fifty years ago, their demise signaled a new era of transportation chaos in San Juan. Find out how a vicious cycle of road construction, car usage and suburban sprawl has led Puerto Rico to depend entirely on the automobile for transportation. As a result, over twenty years ago, local planners began dreaming of an urban train designed to serve the needs of the San Juan Metropolitan Area (SJMA). Result: Tren Urbano (TU). How much will TU cost? How much will it impact your wallet? Who will pay for TU’s operational deficit? Learn the challenges TU faces in achieving its goal of reducing traffic congestion. What complimentary policies are needed?

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

May 2000: We can make your product for you

Latest trends in the pharmaceutical industry in Puerto Rico

There is a fundamental change in the economy: life is getting more competitive and companies have been thinking harder than ever before on how to stay on top. Section 936 of the US tax code provided federal tax exemption to US companies that established production in Puerto Rico. With the phase-out of this incentive by 2005, many analysts forecast manufacturing plants would close. Instead, many former 936 corporations, have stepped up their investments in the Island. Find out why. 

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

April 2000: Dissecting the Construction Boom

An Explanation of the

There would appear to be no barriers to the expansion of construction in PR.  Housing, commercial buildings, and infrastructure are all riding high.  After six years, this sector seems to take on new power as it threatened to reach the $7 billion mark and posted double-digit growth.  Government megaprojects have been heralded as the main driver.  Will this hold?  And, for how long?  After all, interest rates seem to be creeping upwards and fiscal revenues are finite.  How sensitive is housing to rate increases?  Find out what ingredients explain this construction boom.

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

March 2000: Journey Inside a Record Year

The Shape of the PR economy in 1999 and Forecast for 2000 and 2001

The economy of carefree consumers and builders rolled on last year, widely fueled by the destruction of Hurricane Goerges in 1998.  Was the 42% growth of the Puerto Rico economy in 1999 significant?  With higher oil prices and interest rates, is the growth sustainable?  Have we become less oil dependent?  How real is low unemployment?  Arguably equally important is the enhanced role of investments as opposed to government aid in personal income.  Perhaps this is the result of a new entrepreneurial culture.  Uncover facts you didn`t know about PR.