It will take another three to five years for Puerto Ricoâs coffee plantations to rebound and their fragile seedlings to mature. The unemployment rate and the migration rate in all occupations have continued to increase after Hurricane Maria. But she is desperate to return to her own place. The high poverty level is affecting the quality of life during quarantine, as Puerto Rico has not rebuilt many homes following Hurricane Maria. When businesses close and employers leave, the losses are more than economic. Residents of Puerto Rico are natural-born U.S. citizens and can freely move and work anywhere in the country. Fifteen Loiza businesses did not reopen after the storm. Siemonâs remaining beans are safely tucked beneath two giant tarps that keep them dry after Maria tore apart the buildingâs aluminum siding. Hurricane Mariaâs assault on the U.S. territoryâs weaknesses â infrastructure, government and labor â crippled the financial security of Puerto Rican families struggling to balance post-hurricane expenses, lost income and rising prices for basic necessities. The contents of this site are ©2020 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc. Puerto Rico's monthly unemployment figure dropped in July to its lowest point in half a century, according to new government figures. Puerto Rico has struggled to provide effective and transparent governance for its residents. The official death count is 64. Three months without power forced Candelas Tamayo to close her practice, and once she reopened, her patients had disappeared. Those with jobs worry that they will not have them in the near future. Recovery is another matter. âI cry sometimes, seeing my house like that. The most important news stories of the day, curated by Post editors and delivered every morning. Last week, the number of new claims for unemployment insurance in Puerto Rico was 1,469 -- slightly fewer than the number recorded the weeks before hurricanes Irma and Maria … âWithout this job, I would have to leave town,â Sotomayor said. The Santanas, who live on the property, have been doing construction and landscaping to make up the loss. The San Juan metro area is an economic bubble where businesses are open, people are heading to work and school, and roads are clogged during rush hour. The unemployment rate and the migration rate in all occupations have continued to increase after Hurricane Maria. It changes the fabric of a community, residents say, forcing residents to look for work outside their towns and to drive farther for services, losing those gathering places where locals stop and chat about life over coffee or an ice-cold Medalla. With no income for nearly a year, Clemente Vizcarrondo has been unable to repair her heavily damaged home and has been living with her daughter in the nearby town of Carolina. The cultural events that were the heart and soul of Loiza are now sparsely attended as residents have migrated to the mainland en masse, officials said. Clemente Vizcarrondo has struggled to find custodial work, in part because of her age, she said. Puerto Rico's suicide rate soared 29 percent after Hurricane Maria following decades of steady decline. It feels horrible,â Clemente Vizcarrondo said. Lissette Clemente Vizcarrondo was a cook at 3 Antillas, a beachfront restaurant in Loiza that served Caribbean food and offered live music and salsa dancing classes on Thursdays. In mourning her father, the 49-year-old struggled to treat the patients she had left. It took more than 200 days to restore power to all Puerto Rico residents. The informal economy is as old and as inherently Puerto Rican as a plate of rice and beans, but the islandâs current reality is pushing professionals such as psychologist Eva Candelas Tamayo to do jobs they never trained for or hoped to do to bring money home. City Hall has started offering minimum-wage maintenance and cleaning jobs for four hours a day to help residents. As a whole, the islandâs agriculture industry has taken a $780 million hit from the storm, leading to closed businesses and lost jobs. Nearly a year after the catastrophic storm, Puerto Ricoâs feeble economy has shown little sign of progress for workers and small-business owners, jeopardizing the viability of entire industries and communities. But there remains a constellation of needy municipalities across the Puerto Rican archipelago where jobs were already scarce and business has been sluggish for years. Meanwhile, her psychology practice was crashing. And with Covid-19 creating serious problems in Florida and other parts of the United States, unemployed Puerto Ricans, who fled to the mainland in droves after Hurricane Maria… Everything in Loiza feels quieter and emptier since Maria, residents said. Puerto Rico's economy has been in a recession since 2006. In addition to the lives lost and the catastrophic damage, the storm significantly impacted Puerto Rico’s labor market. SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico Labor Secretary Carlos Saavedra revealed Monday statistical data on the island’s labor market for January, indicating that, for a third consecutive month, the number of people employed rose, although numbers remain below those before Hurricanes Irma and Maria … If the bean shortage continues, he could be closing down by October. The official unemployment rate has not been reported since February, but the oversight board estimated that in July it could have reached 40 per cent, almost four times the national average. Hurricane Maria explains much of the decline over the last year. Puerto Ricans left jobless by hurricanes have 3 weeks to apply for new aid Over 10,000 Puerto Ricans who lost their jobs after Hurricanes Maria … In October the official unemployment rate hit 8.3%, the lowest in more than 70 years. But Rosselló said the employment statistics show the island is reaching a turning point toward economic growth. Standing in an overgrown field with a Stetson atop his head, the 71-year-old looked down at the emptiness that was 15,000 seedlings, planted two years ago for his specialty coffee brand, CafÃ© de Puta Madre. Since then, many on … Three shuttered in Loiza alone. The storm exposed the brutal and historic neglect of the island and its 3.5 million U.S. citizens. âWanting to do so many things but not having the resources, I feel helpless.â. Unemployment reached 9.1 percent in July, down from 9.3 percent in June and 10.3 percent in July 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Puerto Rico Gov. Those communities were in the stormâs path of destruction and solicited the greatest amount of help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to the University of Puerto Ricoâs Census Information Center. They were supposed to reap a bounty of coffee cherries this year, but Hurricane Maria yanked them from the earth last September. According to the Post-Kaiser poll, 51 percent of Puerto Ricans are worried they wonât be able to find or keep a good job. Jobless After Hurricanes, 10,000+ Puerto Ricans Now Eligible for Unprecedented 52 Weeks of ‘Disaster Unemployment Assistance’ - National Employment Law Project. âYou work in coffee, or you donât have work. For Siemon, it took tens of thousands of dollars to bring his coffee farming and roasting business back into operation after Maria, and he has been rationing beans he bought before the storm to fill orders, reducing hours and wages for some of his employees in the process. A change in taxation policy prompted an exodus of lucrative business and reduced tax revenue; unemployment rates reached 45 percent.