Unemployment in the Commonwealth

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.”

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