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Featured, right, Edinburg Mayor Richard H. García speaking with reporters on Thursday, January 22, 2015, prior to welcoming Gov. Greg Abbott to the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance.

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

Edinburg’s unemployment rate for February 2015 was 4.8 percent, which was lower than the previous month’s level of 5.1 percent, better than the February 2014 level of 6.2 percent, and the best showing for that month since 2008, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and the Edinburg City Council. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. Those most recent figures, released on Friday, March 27 by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), came about a week after Teleperformance U.S.A., a global company which specializes in customer service, technical support, call center, debt collection and social media, announced that it will begin hiring 200 more staff members at its Edinburg site, located at 1701 South Closner Blvd. Only McAllen had a better monthly performance among the Valley’s major economies, coming in with a 4.7 percent unemployment rate for February 2015, the TWC reported. The previous month, the unemployment rate in McAllen was five percent. Edinburg’s February 2015 unemployment rate of 4.8 percent remained close to the Texas statewide average, which was 4.3 percent for February 2015, compared with statewide average of 4.6 percent for January 2015, according to TWC figures. With more than 700 employees at the local Teleperformance facility, the company currently utilizes about 50,000 square feet with about 800 work stations. “Our clients see Edinburg as a great place for customer service and support,” said Miranda Collard President of Operational Delivery for Teleperformance U.S.A. “They recognize the area’s diversity, talent, and education in the community. Edinburg offers a unique advantage to employers like Teleperformance because of the strength of the community and the incredible work ethic of the people. We are excited to continue our growth in this area.”Mayor Richard H. García congratulated Teleperformance with its continued success and agreed with the company’s assessment of the work ethics in this region. “For us working hard is just something we do. That’s what our parents taught us and I’m glad we’re being recognized for our hard working habits,” the mayor said. ‘“This is their second expansion since they first opened in 2003. Clearly, we’re a good fit.” Their first expansion was in 2013, when Teleperformance added 400 positions and increased square footage by 24,000 feet, making room for 350 more workstations. Agustín “Gus” García, Jr. (no relation to the mayor), Executive Director of the EEDC, said the additional 200 jobs at Teleperformance U.S.A. will contribute to the city’s declining unemployment rate. “This also means that people looking for a job will have high-paying positions to choose from, great jobs that could turn into careers,” the EEDC Executive Director reflected.

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Edinburg’s unemployment rate of 4.8 percent for February 2015 reflects continued economic improvement as Teleperformance announces plan to hire 200 more employees at local site

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Edinburg’s unemployment rate for February 2015 was 4.8 percent, which was lower than the previous month’s level of 5.1 percent, better than the February 2014 level of 6.2 percent, and the best showing for that month since 2008, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

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

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

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.

Those most recent figures, released on Friday, March 27 by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), came about a week after Teleperformance U.S.A., a global company which specializes in customer service, technical support, call center, debt collection and social media, announced that it has begun hiring 200 more staff members at its Edinburg site, located at 1701 South Closner Blvd.

Only McAllen had a better monthly performance among the Valley’s major economies, coming in with a 4.7 percent unemployment rate for February 2015, the TWC reported. The previous month, the unemployment rate in McAllen was five percent.

Edinburg’s February 2015 unemployment rate of 4.8 percent remained close to the Texas statewide average, which was 4.3 percent for February 2015 and 4.6 percent for January 2015, according to TWC figures.

In addition, the TWC found that the four-county Valley’s other major communities also showed drops in their monthly unemployment rates:

• Harlingen, 5.7 percent (6.3 percent in January);
• Mission, 5.8 percent (6.3 percent in January);
• Weslaco, 6.4 percent (7.2 percent in January);
• Pharr, 6.7 percent (7.5 percent in January); and
• Brownsville, 7.0 (7.8 percent in January).

The latest data represents an increase of 399 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for February 2015 and February 2014. In February 2015, there were 35,442 persons employed in Edinburg, compared with 35,043 in February 2014.

The February 2015 unemployment rate of 4.8 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.

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, according to the TWC, have registered as follows: 2014 (5.8 percent); 2013 (6.9 percent); 2012 (7.5 percent); 2011 (8.4 percent); 2010 (8.2 percent); 2009 (6.8 percent); 2008 (4.9 percent); 2007 (4.7 percent); 2006 (5.2 percent); and 2005 (4.9 percent).

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 a 7.7 percent unemployment rate, down from 8.3 percent in January 2015, while all cities combined in Cameron County averaged a 7.2 percent unemployment rate, down from 7.8 percent in January 2015.

Also for February 2015, there were 306,897 individuals employed in Hidalgo County, while 153,938 persons were employed in Cameron County.

All cities combined in Starr County averaged a 13.3 percent unemployment rate in February 2015, down from 13.9 percent in January, while all cities combined in Willacy County averaged an 11.1 percent unemployment rate in February 2015, down from 11.6 percent in January.

For February 2015, 22,932 individuals were employed in Starr County, while during the same month, 6,481 persons were employed in Willacy County.

TELEPERFORMANCE PRAISES “INCREDIBLE WORK ETHIC” OF EDINBURG, VALLEY

With more than 700 employees at the local Teleperformance facility, the company currently utilizes about 50,000 square feet with about 800 work stations.

“Our clients see Edinburg as a great place for customer service and support,” said Miranda Collard President of Operational Delivery for Teleperformance U.S.A. “They recognize the area’s diversity, talent, and education in the community. Edinburg offers a unique advantage to employers like Teleperformance because of the strength of the community and the incredible work ethic of the people. We are excited to continue our growth in this area.”

Mayor Richard H. García congratulated Teleperformance with its continued success and agreed with the company’s assessment of the work ethics in this region.

“For us working hard is just something we do. That’s what our parents taught us and I’m glad we’re being recognized for our hard working habits,” the mayor said. ‘“This is their second expansion since they first opened in 2003. Clearly, we’re a good fit.”

Their first expansion was in 2013, when Teleperformance added 400 positions and increased square footage by 24,000 feet, making room for 350 more workstations.

Agustín “Gus” García, Jr. (no relation to the mayor), Executive Director of the EEDC, said the additional 200 jobs at Teleperformance U.S.A. will contribute to the city’s declining unemployment rate.

“This also means that people looking for a job will have high-paying positions to choose from, great jobs that could turn into careers,” the EEDC Executive Director reflected.

Jim Phillips, Vice President of Recruiting at Teleperformance U.S.A., is one of many examples of employees moving up the proverbial ladder with the firm.

“We are now hiring in Edinburg,” said Phillips, currently a Salt Lake City, Utah resident, now serving in his 18th year with Teleperformance U.S.A. who began as a phone agent in Columbus, Ohio.

“Applicants come in, are tested and interviewed and can walk out the same day with a great new career that will allow them the opportunity to learn and develop their skills to move up within the organization,” said Phillips.

People interested in these jobs should visit the company’s website at http://www.telperformance.com or call (956)388-8500.

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, February 2015:

Brownsville: 69,737
McAllen: 60,091
Edinburg: 35,442
Mission: 31,017
Pharr: 26,823
Harlingen: 23,2520
Weslaco: 13,411

Edinburg 2014 Employment, By Month:

December 2014: 35,887
November 2014: 35,922
October 2014: 35,793
September 2014: 35,192
August 2014: 34,691
July 2014: 34,600
June 2014: 35,246
May 2014: 35,430
April 2014: 35,374
March 2014: 35,194
February 2014: 35,043
January 2014: 34,896

Edinburg Monthly Unemployment Rates, 2014:

December: 4.6 percent
November: 5.1 percent
October: 5.4 percent
September: 5.7 percent
August: 6.3 percent
July: 6.6 percent
June: 6.6 percent
May: 5.8 percent
April: 5.3 percent
March: 5.9 percent
February: 6.2 percent
January: 6.3 percent

Edinburg Monthly Unemployment Rates, 2013

December: 6.1 percent
November: 6.3 percent
October: 6.9 percent
September: 6.9 percent
August: 7.2 percent
July: 7.5 percent
June: 7.6 percent
May: 6.9 percent
April: 6.4 percent
March: 6.8 percent
February: 7.1 percent
January: 7.2 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 explains.

Effective in March 2015, the TWC also notes that “for all sub-state LAUS estimates, a break in series exists between December 2009 and January 2010 due to a change in methodology used. The use of caution is advised when comparing data from prior to 2010 to that of 2010-present.

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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