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Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, outlines his vision for continued economic growth and job creation for his 15th Congressional District, which includes Hidalgo County, at the Pharr Convention Center (now Boggus Ford Events Center) on Tuesday, November 4, as his wife, Martha López Hinojosa, looks on. “When I first took office in January 1997, the unemployment rate for Hidalgo County was at 22 percent. I made it my goal to help bring this number down to single digits and we succeeded,” Hinojosa said. The latest jobs figures bear him out, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, a state agency which provides information and analysis on shifts in occupations and industries within the state, including unemployment rates and employment figures, broken down by cities, counties, and regions in Texas, on a monthly basis. All cities combined in Hidalgo County averaged an 8.3 percent unemployment rate in January 2015. Also for January 2015, there were 307,706 individuals were employed in Hidalgo County. Hinojosa’s perspectives are shared by the leadership of the Texas Workforce Commission, who were appointed by then-Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican. “The diversity of skills found in the Texas workforce has contributed greatly to the strength of the Texas economy,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “As jobs are added, Texas has skilled workers to fill them and resources available for workers to obtain new skills when needed. I encourage all job seekers to look for available positions through TWC’s online job-matching resource, WorkInTexas.com and to take advantage of the many services and training resources available through their local Workforce Solutions office.”

Photograph by MARK MONTEMAYOR

Edinburg’s unemployment rate for January 2015 was 5.1 percent, a significant improvement from the monthly rate in January 2014, when it came in at 6.3 percent, and better than the January 2015 U.S. unemployment rate of 5.7 percent, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. Only McAllen had a better performance among the Valley’s major economies, coming in with a 5.0 percent unemployment rate for January 2015, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. Edinburg’s latest monthly showing also remained within striking distance of the Texas statewide average, which was 4.6 percent for January 2015, while better than the U.S. unemployment rate of 5.7 percent for the same month, the TWC reported. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the four-county Valley’s other major communities shared in Edinburg and McAllen’s good news, continuing to boast unemployment rates in the single-digits, in the following order: Harlingen (6.3 percent); Mission (6.3 percent); Weslaco (7.2 percent); Pharr (7.5 percent); and Brownsville (7.8 percent). The January 2015 data, released by the Texas Workforce Commission on Friday, March 5, also showed an increase of 636 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for January 2015 and January 2014. In January 2015, there were 35,536 persons employed in Edinburg, compared with 34,900 in January 2014. The January 2015 unemployment rate of 5.1 percent for Edinburg is also better than the annual unemployment rate in Edinburg for 2014, which was 5.8 percent, the best 12-month average from January through December in seven years, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

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Edinburg’s unemployment rate of 5.1 percent for January 2015 among Valley’s best, better than U.S. rate

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Edinburg’s unemployment rate for January 2015 was 5.1 percent, a significant improvement from the monthly rate in January 2014, when it came in at 6.3 percent, and better than the January 2015 U.S. unemployment rate of 5.7 percent, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy.

Only McAllen had a better performance among the Valley’s major economies, coming in with a 5.0 percent unemployment rate for January 2015, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Edinburg’s latest monthly showing also remained within striking distance of the Texas statewide average, which was 4.6 percent for January 2015, the TWC reported.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the four-county Valley’s other major communities shared in Edinburg and McAllen’s good news, continuing to boast unemployment rates in the single-digits, in the following order: Harlingen (6.3 percent); Mission (6.3 percent); Weslaco (7.2 percent); Pharr (7.5 percent); and Brownsville (7.8 percent).

The January 2015 data, released by the Texas Workforce Commission on Friday, March 5, also showed an increase of 636 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for January 2015 and January 2014.

In January 2015, there were 35,536 persons employed in Edinburg, compared with 34,900 in January 2014.

The January 2015 unemployment rate of 5.1 percent for Edinburg is also better than the annual unemployment rate in Edinburg for 2014, which was 5.8 percent, the best 12-month average from January through December in seven years, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Edinburg’s annual unemployment rates since 2005, which is the year in which the state government began preparing those figures using a more accurate formula, have registered as follows: 2014 (5.8 percent); 2013 (7.3 percent); 2012 (7.8 percent); 2011 (8.9 percent); 2010 (8.4 percent); 2009 (6.8 percent); 2008 (5.0 percent); 2007 (4.8 percent); 2006 (5.3 percent); and 2005 (4.9 percent), the Texas Workforce Commission reported.

The unemployment rate is the number of persons unemployed, expressed as a percentage of the civilian labor force, according to TWC. The civilian labor force is that portion of the population age 16 and older employed or unemployed. To be considered unemployed, a person has to be not working but willing and able to work and actively seeking work.

Among its many duties, the Texas Workforce Commission, a state agency, provides information and analysis on shifts in occupations and industries within the state, including unemployment rates and employment figures, broken down by cities, counties, and regions in Texas, on a monthly basis.

All cities combined in Hidalgo County averaged an 8.3 percent unemployment rate in January 2015, while all cities combined in Cameron County averaged a 7.7 percent unemployment rate in January 2015.

Also for January 2015, there were 307,706 individuals employed in Hidalgo County, while 153,893 persons were employed in Cameron County.

All cities combined in Starr County averaged a 13.9 percent unemployment rate in January 2015, while all cities combined in Willacy County averaged an 11.6 percent unemployment rate for January 2015.

For January 2015, 22,927 individuals were employed in Starr County, while during the same month, 6,392 persons were employed in Willacy County.

DEMOCRATIC, REPUBLICAN LEADERS SHARE CREDIT FOR POSITIVE JOBS FIGURES

Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, who has one of his major District Office in Edinburg, recently outlined his vision for continued economic growth and job creation for his 15th Congressional District, which includes Hidalgo County.

“When I first took office in January 1997, the unemployment rate for Hidalgo County was at 22 percent. I made it my goal to help bring this number down to single digits and we succeeded,” Hinojosa said.

The latest jobs figures bear him out, according to the most recent findings by the Texas Workforce Commission, and the optimism extends to a statewide level.

“The diversity of skills found in the Texas workforce has contributed greatly to the strength of the Texas economy,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton, who, along with the two other members of the TWC governing board – both Hispanics – were appointed by then-Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican.

“As jobs are added, Texas has skilled workers to fill them and resources available for workers to obtain new skills when needed,” Congleton said. “I encourage all job seekers to look for available positions through TWC’s online job-matching resource, WorkInTexas.com and to take advantage of the many services and training resources available through their local Workforce Solutions office.”

The Texas job market began 2015 with continued positive momentum in job growth as seen in 2014, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The state added 20,100 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in January for a total increase of 392,900 jobs over the year. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent in January down from 4.6 percent in December 2014.

“We are pleased to see that the growth of jobs in our state is continuing,” said TWC Chair Andrés Alcantar. “Texas employers added 20,100 jobs including growth in nine of 11 major industries in January, which is a great testament to the strength and resilience of our economy and labor market.”

For his part, Hinojosa cited federal efforts designed to stimulate economic prosperity nationally and in deep South Texas.

“According to the Texas Education Agency, 93.5 percent of our students, which are part of Region One Education Service Center, graduate from high school. This figure is significant because it is higher than the state of Texas’ overall graduation rate of 93.4 percent,” Hinojosa said. “This is the result of long-term efforts from the federal government to local levels to provide a well-trained and skilled workforce for employers.”

The congressman also noted that in July 2014, President Obama signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act after the bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.

“The legislation, which reauthorizes the decades-old Workforce Investment Act, will help connect job training programs with the needs of employers to ensure workers learn the most in-demand skills and are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. I have long supported these measures that promote career pathways and utilize sector strategies for delivering job training services.”

OTHER KEY ECONOMIC INDICATORS

More detailed information about the labor market and unemployment rates in Edinburg and neighboring major communities include:

Number of Persons Employed, January 2015:

Brownsville: 69,716
McAllen: 60,250
Edinburg: 35,536
Mission: 31,099
Pharr: 26,894
Harlingen: 23,246
Weslaco: 13,447

Edinburg 2014 Employment, By Month:

December 2014: 34,055
November 2014: 34,086
October 2014: 33,865
September 2014: 33,239
August 2014: 32,796
July 2014: 32,630
June 2014: 33,097
May 2014: 33,480
April 2014: 33,587
March 2014: 33,660
February 2014: 33,436
January 2014: 33,334

Edinburg Monthly Unemployment Rates, 2014:

December: 4.8 percent
November: 5.5 percent
October: 5.9 percent
September: 6.1 percent
August: 6.9 percent
July: 6.9 percent
June: 6.9 percent
May: 6.1 percent
April: 5.5 percent
March: 6.0 percent
February: 6.6 percent
January: 6.6 percent

Edinburg Monthly Unemployment Rates, 2013

December: 6.7 percent
November: 6.8 percent
October: 7.4 percent
September: 7.4 percent
August: 7.6 percent
July: 7.9 percent
June: 8.0 percent
May: 7.3 percent
April: 6.7 percent
March: 7.2 percent
February: 7.5 percent
January: 7.7 percent

Because of substantial methodology changes between 2004 and 2005 in estimating city unemployment statistics, Texas city data is not available prior to 2005, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Because of substantial methodology changes in geographic areas below the state level, data from 2005 and 2004 or earlier is not considered comparable, the state agency adds.

The Texas Workforce Commission data on all entities in the state, including cities and counties, is available online at:

http://www.tracer2.com/cgi/dataanalysis/AreaSelection.asp?tableName=Labforce

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The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, and Steven Edward Cruz, II. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://www.EdbgCityLimits.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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