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U.S. Virgin Islands Had The Second-Worst Economy In USA From 2009-2019: Report

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The U.S. Virgin Islands has the second-worst economy in the United States — with only Hawaii worse — over the 10-year period before COVID-19, Bond Buyer reports

The news outlet says the USVI shrunk 24 percent “in real terms” from 2009 to 2019 in a report by Robert Slavin on Friday.

“The territory’s economy has continued to struggle in the past two years, with the islands’ employment down 9.5% through from February 2020 to October 2021, according to New York Federal Reserve Bank Early Benchmarked employment data,” Bond Buyer said. “Of the 50 states, only Hawaii has performed worse.”

A Moody’s Investors Service report from October said one of the factors explaining the territorial government’s Caa3 rating is a “small and highly concentrated economy.”

U.S. Virgin Islands Had The Second-Worst Economy In USA From 2009-2019: Report
THE THREE AMIGOS: Gov. John P. de Jongh, Jr. (left), Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp (middle) and Gov. Albert Bryan, Jr.

In layman’s terms, what Moody’s means is that the local government and Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) are not friendly to small businesses.

The time period 2009 to 2019 covers three territorial administrations, the De Jongh Administration (which Governor Albert Bryan was a part of), the Mapp Administration and the Bryan Administration.

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By John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.