Though Puerto Rico has struggled through financial turbulence recently, this small yet well-developed Caribbean island still has much to offer those interested in business expansion. Prior to its current period of financial difficulty, Puerto Rico was widely considered to have one of the most dynamic economies in the region, along with strong infrastructure and a well-educated, bilingual workforce.
Since 2006, however, debt issues have continued to trouble the island, driving down growth and prompting some of Puerto Rico's younger workers to depart for the United States. In order to help resolve this ongoing crisis, Puerto Rico entered a process similar to bankruptcy on May 3, 2017, in a New York court. The island's governor, Ricardo Rossello, then announced a plan to slash government payrolls and purchase expenses (by 13 percent and 40 percent, respectively) on May 31, 2017, while also lowering taxes and creating a reserve fund to protect workers from potential furloughs.
The prospect of achieving full statehood—an outcome which could potentially help Puerto Rico further strengthen its economy—also received a boost on June 11, 2017, when island residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of becoming the 51st U.S. state. It should be noted, that the referendum was non-binding, and the outlook for statehood remains unclear for now. Regardless of the eventual outcome, these recent developments should encourage businesses to take a fresh look at Puerto Rico when evaluating overseas expansion options.