puerto rico

The economy of Puerto Rico is classified as a high income economy by the World Bank and as the most competitive economy in Latin America by the World Economic Forum. The main drivers of Puerto Rico’s economy are manufacturing, primarily pharmaceuticals, textiles, petrochemicals, and electronics; followed by the service industry, notably finance, insurance, real estate, and tourism.

The following tables and chart will tell the change details in last 5-10 years:

Puerto Rico Distribution of GDP across economic sectors:

Sector20152016201720182019
Agriculture0.83%0.81%0.82%0.71%0.69%
Industries50.94%51.15%51.23%50.78%50.58%
Services47.88%48.35%48.44%48.82%48.21%

Here attached the last 10 years chart of Puerto Rico GDP: (amount in billion USD):

3 Sectors of the Economy – Agriculture, Industry and Services:

  • Agriculture:

Agriculture is not an important part in the Puerto Rico’s economy. It employs almost 1.01% of the total workforce and contributed almost 0.69% in GDP.

A variety of crops are grown in Puerto Rico, including rice, sugar cane, coffee, and corn. However, there is currently a debate as to whether or not agricultural production on the island should be increased or reduced. 

Agriculture Subsidy in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rican farmers no longer receive a subsidy since the government scrapped the law in 2018 after being in effect for more than thirty years. The subsidy was replaced by an incentive based on production––a system that the legislature is now considering reverting after it proved insufficient

  • Industries:

Industries plays an important part in the Puerto Rico’s economy. It accounts for 50.58% of the GDP and employed almost 15.53% of the workforce.

The main drivers of Puerto Rico’s economy are manufacturing, primarily pharmaceuticals, textiles, petrochemicals, and electronics.

Major Industries in this Sector:

Pharmaceutical: The home to 12 of the world’s 20 top-grossing pharmaceutical companies, is emerging as a viable alternative to Asia for drug makers serving the Americas. Added growth in this sector can be swift in Puerto Rico, as the island already has the demonstrated experience, infrastructure and workforce to perform. Puerto Rico presents one of the most turnkey options for pharmaceutical manufacturing and can be crucial for U.S. Pharmaceutical sector.

  • Services:

Service sector is an important part in the Puerto Rico’s economy. It contributes almost 48.21% in the GDP and employed almost 83.46% of the total Puerto Rico’s workforce.

Major Industries in this Sector:

Finance: Puerto Rico’s banking sector, which is likely the most impactful sector of the economy, could use greater collaboration from the government to boost individual and commercial services. The island’s banking sector handles some 5.2 million deposit accounts for individuals, businesses and the public sector. In 2019, commercial banks facilitated approximately 117,000 consumer loans and lines of credit, 7,800 home loans and 8,900 loans to small, medium and large businesses, for a total of $6.1 billion in originated loan balances. Commercial banks generate 13,500 jobs, representing 44% of the total payroll within Puerto Rico’ financial and insurance industries.

Tourism: In Puerto Rico, the joint study estimates that during 2019, travel & tourism accounted for a contribution of $5.17 billion in economic activity, representing 5.0 percent of the island’s gross domestic product (GDP). This dropped by a whopping 66.4 percent to $1.74 billion in 2020, the main year of the COVID-19 pandemic, representing 1.8 percent of Puerto Rico’s GDP. Employment numbers in the island’s visitor economy also saw a big decrease from 99,700 jobs in 2019 to 85,900 in 2020. This represents a loss of 13.9 percent jobs in the sector.

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