Jobless claims in Puerto Rico reached 19,000 in July, raising the unemployment rate to 16.5 percent. Out of nearly 4 million residents, 219,000 are collecting unemployment. During this crisis, Puerto Rico governor Luis Fortuno plans to cut an additional 30,000 public sector jobs.
The United States invaded and occupied Puerto Rico in 1898 during the Spanish American War. Since then, the people of Puerto Rico have been occupied and exploited at the hands of U.S. imperialism. While Puerto Rico has one of the highest per capita gross domestic products in the Caribbean, it is still poorer than the poorest U.S. state.
During this economic crisis, workers in both Puerto Rico and the United States have faced huge job and benefits cuts. The unemployment rate in California has reached a high of 11.9 percent with 26 states reporting higher unemployment. Nationally, the unemployment rate stands at 9.4 percent. Workers of oppressed nationalities have experienced even higher rates of unemployment across the country.