The true extent of Hurricane Maria’s damage to Puerto Rico is still being tallied. But here’s a good indication of how bad it will be—the island’s economy will shrink by about 8% in 2018, according to a November forecast by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
That puts Puerto Rico at the top of the list of the slowest-growing economies in the world.
Puerto Rico might have made it on that list even if hadn’t been hit by the Category 4 storm on Sept. 20, but it likely wouldn’t have been at the top. Last year, the island’s economy contracted by closer to 1%, according to government estimates.
For years, the US territory has been struggling to curb an exodus of jobs and working-age people to the mainland, and a ballooning public debt. Earlier this year, its government filed for bankruptcy.
Maria has made those problems worse. Thousands of businesses have been unable to open due …