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South Texas College Inno’ 2015

Featured, from left: Keith Patridge, President and CEO, McAllen Economic Development Corporation; Sergio Contreras, Executive Director, Pharr Economic Development Corporation; Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Rose Benavidez, Executive Director, Starr County Industrial Foundation; and Julian Álvarez, President, Rio Grande Valley Partnership, on Friday, September 25, participating in a presentation during the South Texas College Inno’ 2015, held at the STC Technology Campus Atrium, Building B, in south McAllen.
PHOTOGRAPH BY DIEGO REYNA

Edinburg’s unemployment rate for September 2015 was 4.9 percent – the same as McAllen – representing the best performances among the Valley’s major cities for that month, and the lowest figure for that month for Edinburg since September 2007, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Also according to the latest data, which was released on Friday, October 16, 2015 by the Texas Workforce Commission, there were more than 35,000 people employed in Edinburg during the month of September 2015. The EEDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The EEDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Harvey Rodríguez as Vice President, Ellie M. Torres as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Richard García and Richard Ruppert as Members. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. Edinburg’s latest showing was better than the U.S. unemployment rate for September 2015, which came in at 5.1 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000). In its mission to help create jobs and help private businesses prosper, the Edinburg City Council and the EEDC Board of Directors place a high priority on the importance of a strong education system, said Mayor Richard García. “All that we are, and all that we want to be, one of the keys to our economic successes and quality-of-life is the classroom, and Edinburg has worked smart and hard to become a center of education in Texas,” the mayor said. “Just recently, top leaders from several of our nation’s largest corporations met with our area school district superintendents, in part because these industries recognize that their future, just like that of our nation, also depends on South Texas.” On Monday, October 5, 2015, a large group of public and charter school superintendents from across the Rio Grande Valley met during HESTEC with national government leaders, corporate partners, and administrators and faculty of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, during the Superintendents Leadership Breakfast. HESTEC stands for Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week, an annual weeklong gathering which this year was held from Sunday, October 4, through Saturday, October 10, at the Edinburg campus of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Mark Iglesias, the President of the EEDC Board of Directors, added that the deep pool of talent of Edinburg and South Texas was further emphasized by the attendance of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to HESTEC in Edinburg the following day. “In many ways, HESTEC is part of our homeland security, because HESTEC’s goal to to encourage more South Texas students to become the leaders and professionals in our nation’s STEM fields, from where many of the great scientific breakthroughs come,” said Iglesias. “It is no coincidence that the captains of industry and the titans of politics come to Edinburg and South Texas, because we have what it takes to serve our nation.” Duncan praised HESTEC as a model for the nation in its efforts to expose students to all the opportunities available in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, and for helping prepare students for the workplace. “So many jobs of the future are in STEM fields,” he said. “Our country needs your talents, we need your expertise. We need for you to be the job creators and the entrepreneurs going forward.” As for the Superintendents Leadership Breakfast, it succeeded in its goal to open dialogue and share ideas on how to provide more opportunities for students and ensure their success, said Austin García, Jr., Executive Director for the EEDC. “When one looks at the incredible meetings, presentations, performances, exhibits, and turnout generated by HESTEC, it inspires all of us, not just our students,” said the EEDC Executive Director. “Such major events help let the nation know that South Texas is building on Edinburg’s reputation as ‘The Gateway to the Future.’”

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Edinburg’s unemployment rate drops to 4.9 percent for September 2015, representing the best performance among Valley’s major cities, reports Edinburg Economic Development Corporation

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Edinburg’s unemployment rate for September 2015 was 4.9 percent – the same as McAllen – representing the best performances among the Valley’s major cities for that month, and the lowest figure for that month for Edinburg since September 2007, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

Also according to the latest data, which was released on Friday, October 16, 2015 by the Texas Workforce Commission, there were more than 35,000 people employed in Edinburg during the month of September 2015.

The EEDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

The EEDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Harvey Rodríguez as Vice President, Ellie M. Torres as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Richard García and Richard Ruppert as Members.

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

Edinburg’s latest showing was better than the U.S. unemployment rate for September 2015, which came in at 5.1 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000).

Edinburg’s September 2015 figure of 4.9 percent continues a year-long pattern of positive reports: August (5.1 percent); July (5.4 percent); June (5.1 percent); May (4.8 percent); April (4.6 percent); March (4.8 percent); February (4.8 percent); and January (5.1 percent).

Edinburg’s September 2015 unemployment rate of 4.9 percent remained close to the Texas statewide average, which was 4.4 percent in September 2015, 4.4 percent in August, 4.6 percent in July, 4.4 percent in June, 4.1 percent in May, four percent in April, 4.2 percent in March, 4.3 percent in February, and 4.6 percent in January, according to Texas Workforce Commission figures.

The data represents an increase of 78 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for September 2015 and September 2014. In September 2015, there were 35,270 persons employed in Edinburg, compared with 35,192 in September 2014.

The September 2015 unemployment rate of 4.9 percent for Edinburg is also better than the annual unemployment rate in Edinburg for 2014, which was 5.8 percent – and that yearly rate was the best 12-month average from January through December since 2008.

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 Texas Workforce Commission, 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).

STRONG EDUCATION SYSTEM PART OF CITY COUNCIL, EEDC PRIORITIES

In its mission to help create jobs and help private businesses prosper, the Edinburg City Council and the EEDC Board of Directors place a high priority on the importance of a strong education system, said Mayor Richard García.

“All that we are, and all that we want to be, one of the keys to our economic successes and quality-of-life is the classroom, and Edinburg has worked smart and hard to become a center of education in Texas,” the mayor said. “Just recently, top leaders from several of our nation’s largest corporations met with our area school district superintendents, in part because these industries recognize that their future, just like that of our nation, also depends on South Texas.”

On Monday, October 5, 2015, a large group of public and charter school superintendents from across the Rio Grande Valley met during HESTEC with national government leaders, corporate partners, and administrators and faculty of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, during the Superintendents Leadership Breakfast.

HESTEC stands for Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week, an annual weeklong gathering which this year was held from Sunday, October 4, through Saturday, October 10, at the Edinburg campus of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Mark Iglesias, the President of the EEDC Board of Directors, added that the deep pool of talent of Edinburg and South Texas was further emphasized by the attendance of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to HESTEC in Edinburg the following day.

“In many ways, HESTEC is part of our homeland security, because HESTEC’s goal to to encourage more South Texas students to become the leaders and professionals in our nation’s STEM fields, from where many of the great scientific breakthroughs come,” said Iglesias. “It is no coincidence that the captains of industry and the titans of politics come to Edinburg and South Texas, because we have what it takes to serve our nation.”

Duncan praised HESTEC as a model for the nation in its efforts to expose students to all the opportunities available in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, and for helping prepare students for the workplace.

“So many jobs of the future are in STEM fields,” Duncan said. “Our country needs your talents, we need your expertise. We need for you to be the job creators and the entrepreneurs going forward.”

JoAnn Gama, co-founder, president and superintendent of IDEA Public Schools had an opportunity to meet with Duncan.

“He hammered home his point (about the use of technology in the future) by asking the students to raise their hand if they have a smartphone … and to have a member of his staff show them how to access the College Scorecard,” she said. “Not only is he talking about education and technology being the future … he is proving it to all the educators in the room about having the kids show that they have access. The more that districts can do, or schools can do, to leverage that technology to teach kids, the better.”

EDINBURG – “THE GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE”

As for the equally-important Superintendents Leadership Breakfast, it succeeded in its goal to open dialogue and share ideas on how to provide more opportunities for students and ensure their success, said Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director for the EEDC.

“When one looks at the incredible meetings, presentations, performances, exhibits, and turnout generated by HESTEC, it inspires all of us, not just our students,” said the EEDC Executive Director. “Such major events help let the nation know that South Texas is building on Edinburg’s reputation as ‘The Gateway to the Future.’”

Mayor Richard García and EEDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr., are not related.

Superintendents were able to meet with five U.S. representatives, including: Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes; Congressman Filemón Vela, D-Brownsville; Congresswoman Judy Chu, D-Pasadena, California; Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, D-Akron, Ohio; and Congressman Joaquín Castro, D-San Antonio.

In addition, the South Texas educational leaders also discussed the importance of partnerships with corporate leaders from Shell, Texas Instruments, US Navy, ExxonMobil, NASA, and the U.S. Department of Energy, among others.

Topics of the round table discussion, held at the ITT Building on the Edinburg Campus, included legislation affecting K-12 education; corporate support, particularly in promoting STEM; Texas initiatives to promote student access and success; UTRGV recruitment and outreach to schools; and available degree programs available in STEM at UTRGV.

“Think about all the people in this room today,” said Guy Bailey, founding UTRGV president, in his welcoming remarks. “If we can’t have impact on education, who can? We look forward to working with you on a long-term, ongoing basis about one great issue – the success of our students.”

Bailey described the four major objectives of the university, which he said will have a long-reaching impact on the Valley: student success, educational opportunity, medical education, and research on issues affecting the region.

“We want your students, and we want to help you get those students to us to create the most effective and efficient pipeline possible,” Bailey said.

Richard Sánchez, UTRGV Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations,, whose office oversaw the event, said UTRGV plans to create committees with university representatives and school superintendents to discuss past problems.

“It’s a new day,” Sánchez said. “We want to be a university that includes input from our school superintendents and to talk about core issues.”

OTHER KEY LOCAL ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Among its many duties, the Texas Workforce Commission 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.

Also according to the Texas Workforce Commission, the major cities in the four-county Valley have recorded the following monthly unemployment rates in 2015:

• McAllen: September (4.9 percent), August (5.o percent), July (5.2 percent), June (5.0 percent), May (4.6 percent), April (4.5 percent), March (4.7 percent) February (4.7 percent), and January (5.0 percent);

• Edinburg: September (4.9 percent), August (5.1 percent), July (5.4 percent), June (5.1 percent), May (4.8 percent), April (4.6 percent), March (4.8 percent), February (4.8 percent), and January (5.1 percent);

• Harlingen: September (5.8 percent), August (6.0 percent), July (6.1 percent), June 6.0 percent), May (5.6 percent), April (5.4 percent), March (5.6 percent), February (5.7 percent), and January (6.3 percent);

• Mission: September (5.9 percent), August (6.1 percent), July (6.4 percent), June (6.3 percent), May (5.8 percent), April (5.6 percent), March (5.7 percent), February (5.8 percent), and January (6.3 percent);

• Pharr: September (6.4 percent), August (6.9 percent), July (7.2 percent), June (7.0 percent), May (6.1 percent), April (6.1 percent), March (6.4 percent), February (6.7 percent), and January (7.5 percent).

• Weslaco: September (6.5 percent), August (6.6 percent), July (6.4 percent), June (6.0 percent), May (5.8 percent), April (5.7 percent), March (6.0 percent), February (6.4 percent), and January (7.2 percent); and

• Brownsville: September (6.5 percent), August (6.7 percent), July (6.9 percent), June (6.8 percent), May (6.4 percent), April (6.5 percent), March (7.1 percent), February (7.0 percent), and January (7.8 percent).

The unemployment rate is the number of persons unemployed, expressed as a percentage of the civilian labor force, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. 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.

ADDITIONAL REGIONAL ECONOMIC STATISTICS

All cities combined in Hidalgo County averaged a 7.4 percent unemployment rate in September 2015, compared to August (7.8 percent), July (8.1 percent), June (7.8 percent) May (7.2 percent), April (7.3 percent), March (7.6 percent), February (7.7 percent), and January (8.3 percent).

All cities combined in Cameron County averaged a 6.6 percent unemployment rate in September 2015, compared to August (6.8 percent), July (7.0 percent), June (7.0 percent), May (6.6 percent), April (6.7 percent), March (7.1 percent); February (7.2 percent), and January (7.8 percent).

Also for September 2015, there were 305,408 individuals employed in Hidalgo County, while 151,407 persons were employed in Cameron County.

All cities combined in Starr County averaged a 12.3 percent unemployment rate in September 2015, compared to August (13 percent), July (13.4 percent), June (13.3 percent), May (12.4 percent), April (12.7 percent), March (13.5 percent), February (13.4 percent), and January (13.9 percent).

All cities combined in Willacy County averaged an 11.5 percent unemployment rate in September 2015, compared to August (12.5 percent), July (12.9 percent), June (12.6 percent), May (11.9 percent), April (12.2 percent), March (12.2 percent), February (11.1 percent), and January (11.6 percent).

For September 2015, there were 22,206 individuals employed in Starr County, while during the same month, 6,150 persons were employed in Willacy County.

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

Number of Persons Employed, September 2015:

• Brownsville: 68,590
• McAllen: 59,800
• Edinburg: 35,270
• Mission: 30,866
• Pharr: 26,693
• Harlingen: 22,870
• Weslaco: 13,346

Edinburg 2015 Employment, By Month:

• September 2015: 35,270
• August 2015: 34,897
• July 2014: 34,834
• June 2015: 35,459
• May 2015: 35,848
• April 2015: 35,538
• March 2015: 35,600
• February 2015: 35,497
• January 2015: 35,554

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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Gail Fagan contributed to this article. For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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