This photo from the SEIU blog shows part of the Oct. 15 protest of public employee layoffs in Puerto Rico.

Big Layoffs in Puerto Rico Won't Be Stopped, Governor Says

Unemployment may surpass 17 percent next month, after 17,000 school teachers and other public employees lose their jobs Nov. 6. A large protest on Thursday remained peaceful.

The pain of solving the Puerto Rican government's $3.2 billion budget shortfall is being felt by thousands of public-sector employees, including 17,000 school teachers, health care workers, and others who will lose their jobs Nov. 6. A large rally on Thursday remained peaceful as 15,000 police officers stood guard, but Gov. Luis Fortuño was unmoved and promised the job cuts will go ahead, according to coverage of the protest by the Service Employees International Union and Casiano Communications' Caribbean Business magazine.

Eliminating the jobs and other measures taken by the governor's administration are expected to trim public spending by $2 billion per year.

The English-language Caribbean Business published an editorial Oct. 15 recommending a fundamental shift to a knowledge-based economy emphasizing renewable energy. Neither tourism nor Puerto Rico's dwindling manufacturing base is the solution, the magazine contends.

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