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Economic impact of hurricanes Irma, Maria on Puerto Rico pegged at over $40 billion

By on April 9, 2018

SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico Planning Board Chairwoman María del C. Gordillo published Monday the Economic Report to the Governor and the Statistical Appendix corresponding to fiscal year 2017, which reveals that hurricanes Irma and Maria caused an economic impact of more than $40 billion.

“The chapter on the Economic Impact of Hurricane Maria presents the preliminary estimates of the damage caused by this atmospheric phenomenon in its path over the island on September 20, 2017, and that have been accounted for as of the publication of this report. Currently, the economic losses of Hurricane Maria are estimated at $40,661,600,000,” the report’s introduction reads.

The document says the damage to the public sector was of $5.71 billion (14.1 percent) public sector, and roughly $35 billion to the private sector (85.9 percent).

“The chapter also presents the impacts of Hurricane Irma, which were estimated at [$1.66 billion]. Therefore, both storms had an economic impact of [$42.32 billion],” the report adds.

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Another of the findings included in this document is in the chapter “Academic Review and Experience in other Jurisdictions Regarding the Application of the Minimum Wage,” which summarizes various positions on this issue, both from academics who defend the position that an increase in the minimum wage wouldn’t have significant effects on employment, as well as other academics who assure otherwise.

The proposal was part of a labor reform that was recently announced by Gov. Ricardo Rosselló but then withdrawn in response to Financial Oversight & Management Board demands with respect to the government’s fiscal plan.

Gordillo said the 276-page document also contains an analysis of the behavior of Puerto Rico’s economic activity during fiscal 2017 and the outlook for 2018 and 2019.

“The Economy of Puerto Rico chapter presents economic data of the island for Fiscal Year 2017 and its comparison with previous years. It highlights different variables among which we can mention the Gross Product, which totaled [$70.57 billion] at current prices. At constant or real prices, this variable registered a value of [$6.1 billion] at 1954 prices, which represented a decrease of 2.4 percent with respect to Fiscal Year 2016,” the report’s introduction further says.

The chapter on the Economy of the United States presents the most recent economic data, including projections for fiscal 2018 to 2022.

In addition, labor market, inflation, monetary policy, external sector (trade balance), and real estate market indicators, as well as public policies adopted by President Donald Trump are examined.

The chapter on International Economics presents a summary of events that affected the economies of different countries and describes the performance of the different economies with their respective growth projections.

“This document is an important planning tool for the island, as well as to establish strategies and public policies that promote socioeconomic development. Likewise, the report contains statistical data on the economy of Puerto Rico that helps investors, the private sector, and state and municipal governments make determinations,” the official said.

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