My girlfriend and I just got back from a lovely visit to Puerto Rico. Being me I couldn’t resist purchasing a local (English-language) paper and reading the business/finance sections. I learned that PR has about a 13% unemployment rate. Further the commonwealth government has serious economic issues.
However you’d be hard-pressed to see signs of the severe economic trouble in Old San Juan, the tourist-friendly and historic part of the capital city. It is bustling, expensive, and virtually impossible to find parking in. Expensive as in houses selling for $3-5 million! Condos for $250K+.
Get out of the big city and into the country and the unemployment is more obvious.
What was interesting to me was how laid-back and seemingly unconcerned everyone seemed to be. There was no where near the sense of economic panic that I sense so often here in the mainland US. So I’ll pose the question:
Are we in the U.S. overreacting or are the Puerto Rican people under-reacting? (Or both?)
I don’t have an economic answer, but I do have an intuitive (call it emotional) answer. It certainly feels better to be unworried. And that feeling is contagious. I’ll attempt to keep that feeling with me as I return to my “real world.”