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Edinburg registers the lowest unemployment rate

Featured, from left: Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Mayor Richard García; Claudio Motta, Operations Manager, Santana Textiles; R. Delfino Neto, President, Santana Textiles; Roberto Cantú, Chief Executive Officer, Santana Textiles, and Leticia Flores, Office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott. They were among a large contingent of political, business and community leaders who participate in the ribbon cutting, held on Thursday, November 19, 2015, celebrating the start of the first phase of a corporate investment of $50 million in north Edinburg.
Photograph By DIEGO REYNA

For the second consecutive month this year, Edinburg and McAllen shared the lowest unemployment rate among the Valley’s major economies, both coming in at 4.9 percent for October 2019, which also was the best showing for Edinburg for that month since October 2008, which also posted a 4.9 percent figure, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. 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. Richard García and Agustín García, Jr. are not related. Also according to the latest data, which was released on Friday, November 20, 2015 by the Texas Workforce Commission, there were more than 35,000 people employed in Edinburg during the month of October 2015. 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 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000). Edinburg’s October 2015 figure of 4.9 percent continues a year-long pattern of positive reports: September (4.9 percent); August (5.1 percent); July (5.4 percent); June (5.1 percent); May 2015 (4.8 percent); April 2015 (4.6 percent); March 2015 (4.8 percent); February 2015 (4.8 percent); and January (5.1 percent). EEDC Board President Iglesias said new businesses, both small and large, continue to build or locate in Edinburg, which will result in continued job creation in the city.“On November 17, 2015, the Marriott Towne Place Suites broke ground near the intersection of Trenton Road and and I69,” Iglesias said. “This four-story, 95-room hotel represents a $10 million investment and will create 20 to 30 full time jobs when it opens for business in the fall of 2016, the same time the the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine in Edinburg begins its first semester – and with it, create more jobs as well.” In another related development, the Thursday, November 19, 2015 ribbon-cutting ceremony for Santana Textiles will lead to the creation of 300 high-paying jobs, according to the economic development contract signed by Santana Textiles with the EEDC. Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, noted the importance of the project for the entire community, including farmers, the region’s university and South Texas College. The project also garnered a contribution of more than $1 million from the Texas Governor’s Office. The massive operation, with production buildings longer than a football field, is the only one of its type in Texas. Mayor García called it one of the city’s crown jewels, joining the list of ongoing projects such as the Bert Ogden Arena and a soccer stadium as well as the regional medical school and university. “These are investments that are calculated, studied. This investment right here was very minimal,” the mayor said of the city’s financial contribution, explaining Edinburg is expected to see a $284 million annual return via its economic impact. The Edinburg Santana Textiles facility is expected to become the largest in the country when it begins denim production. Despite challenging conditions in Brazil, the family-owned enterprise has thrived and is now able to use cotton grown in the Edinburg facility’s own region, which also creates additional indirect jobs. “The good news is they’re also very cognizant of our community; very compassionate about the people that live here and they’re very careful to be hiring across the board,” said Mayor García. “They hire veterans. They hire mobility-impaired individuals. They hire a cross-section of the community.”

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Edinburg registers the lowest unemployment rate – 4.9 percent – in the Valley for October 2015

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

For the second consecutive month this year, Edinburg and McAllen shared the lowest unemployment rate among the Valley’s major economies, both coming in at 4.9 percent for October 2015, which also was the best showing for Edinburg for that month since October 2008, which also posted a 4.9 percent figure, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

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.

Richard García and Agustín García, Jr. are not related.

Also according to the latest data, which was released on Friday, November 20, 2015 by the Texas Workforce Commission, there were more than 35,000 people employed in Edinburg during the month of October 2015.

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 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000).

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

EEDC Board President Iglesias said new businesses, both small and large, continue to build or locate in Edinburg, which will result in continued job creation in the city.

“On November 17, 2015, the Marriott Towne Place Suites broke ground near the intersection of Trenton Road and and I69,” Iglesias said. “This four-story, 95-room hotel represents a $10 million investment and will create 20 to 30 full time jobs when it opens for business in the fall of 2016, the same time the the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine in Edinburg begins its first semester – and with it, create more jobs as well.”

Earlier that month, on November 12, Grindstone Coworking, a membership-based office in Edinburg that is designed for mobile workers, freelancers, and start-ups, open for business as well, reflecting the importance and growth of sole-proprietors in the community – another sign of economic vitality, Iglesias noted.

National retail chains continue to move to Edinburg as well, Iglesias continued, noting the November 20 grand opening of ULTA Beauty at The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, located by I-69 at the intersection with Trenton Road.

ULTA Beauty is the largest beauty retailer in the United States and the premier beauty destination for cosmetics, fragrance, skin, hair care products and salon services.

“There is so much going on in Edinburg related with our business community that I highly recommend that people go to the Edinburg EDC Facebook page, which is an outstanding combination of photographs, videos, and stories, to see for themselves, and to find out what we, at the EEDC, can do to help our citizens and future residents prosper as well,” Iglesias recommended.

The EEDC Internet site is accessible at: https://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc/

CITY’S 4.9 PERCENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE REMAINS CLOSE TO STATE RATE

Edinburg’s October 2015 unemployment rate of 4.9 percent remained close to the Texas statewide average, which was 4.5 percent in October, 4.4 percent in September, 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 a decrease of 273 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for October 2015 and October 2014. In October 2015, there were 35,520 employed in Edinburg, compared with 35,793 persons employed in Edinburg in October 2014.

The October 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).

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: October (4.9 percent); 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: October (4.9 percent); 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: October (5.8 percent); 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);

• Weslaco: October (5.9 percent); September (6.5 percent), August (6.5 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);

• Mission: October (6.1 percent); 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: October (6.4 percent); 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); and

• Brownsville: October (6.6 percent); 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.

SANTANA TEXTILES RIBBON-CUTTING SIGNALS START OF MORE JOBS

Mike Willis, Director of Business Services at Workforce Solutions Lower Rio Grande Valley, who is also Executive Director of the South Texas Manufacturers Association, was on hand on Thursday, November 19, 2015, celebrating the official start what will be a major employer in Edinburg – Santana Textiles.

Santana Textiles, based in Brazil, is a world leader in the manufacture and development of different and innovative denim fabrics. It is located on a 33-acre site which is part of Edinburg’s 150-acre North Industrial Park, which is next to Interstate 69 Central, about three miles south of the South Texas International Airport at Edinburg.

Current occupants of the North Industrial Park are Santana Textiles, Nu-Co Tool Incorporated, and FedEx Ground Services, with the EEDC owning more land for future development.

“I had the privilege of attending the Santana Textiles opening ceremony, which included a tour of their Phase 1 production operation,” Willis said. “They have high-tech automated machinery that vacuums cotton off of bales, and converts it into spools of thread for weaving into denim in later stages of production. They have recently hired 60 new employees and are approaching a headcount of 100 people.”

Workforce Solutions, under the direction of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), is one of 28 local workforce development boards located throughout the state. This workforce development board serves Starr, Hidalgo and Willacy counties through a network of partners. The primary goal of TWC and the 28 local workforce development boards is to respond to the needs of Texas employers and workers through locally designed market-driven workforce development initiatives.

“It is great to see this operation up and running and creating jobs for the region,” said Willis. “Kudos to the management team at Santana, and to all the folks at the City of Edinburg and elsewhere who have worked so hard to support this project. Workforce Solutions has been providing support from the ‘early days’ to this project.”

The ribbon-cutting for Santana Textiles will lead to the creation of 300 high-paying jobs, according to the economic development contract signed by Santana Textiles with the EEDC.

Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, noted the importance of the project for the entire community, including farmers, the region’s university and South Texas College. The project also garnered a contribution of more than $1 million from the Texas Governor’s Office.

The massive operation, with production buildings longer than a football field, is the only one of its type in Texas.

Mayor García called it one of the city’s crown jewels, joining the list of ongoing projects such as the Bert Ogden Arena and a soccer stadium as well as the regional medical school and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

“These are investments that are calculated, studied. This investment right here was very minimal,” the mayor said of the city’s financial contribution, explaining Edinburg is expected to see a $284 million annual return via its economic impact.

The Edinburg Santana Textiles facility is expected to become the largest in the country when it begins denim production. Despite challenging conditions in Brazil, the family-owned enterprise has thrived and is now able to use cotton grown in the Edinburg facility’s own region, which also creates additional indirect jobs.

“The good news is they’re also very cognizant of our community; very compassionate about the people that live here and they’re very careful to be hiring across the board,” said Mayor García. “They hire veterans. They hire mobility-impaired individuals. They hire a cross-section of the community.”

Santana Textiles CEO Roberto Cantú said there were many reasons the company picked Edinburg for its facility, and Edinburg’s city leaders were a major factor in the project coming to fruition.

Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza, Jr., who this month is leaving his post to begin a private consulting firm, complimented Santana Textiles for choosing Edinburg.

“I think those are the kinds of partners that any community would want to have to ensure that they grow with our city,” said Garza.

Delfino Neto, a member of the family that owns the company, made brief remarks during the ceremony and cut the ceremonial ribbon.

He said his father always makes sure to say one thing to the employees on such occasions: “Welcome to our family.”

Mayor García saluted Neto, other family members, and other corporate leaders for their decision to come to Edinburg.

“I thank you for having the guts, for having the commitment and the focus, and today we’re finally here,” the mayor said.

ADDITIONAL REGIONAL ECONOMIC STATISTICS

All cities combined in Hidalgo County averaged a 7.4 percent unemployment rate in October 2015, compared to September (7.4 percent), 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 6.8 percent unemployment rate in October 2015, compared to September 2015 (6.6 percent), 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 October 2015, there were 307,575 individuals employed in Hidalgo County, while 151,379 persons were employed in Cameron County.

All cities combined in Starr County averaged a 12.9 percent unemployment rate in October 2015, compared to September (12.2 percent), 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 a 12.8 percent unemployment rate in October 2015, compared to September (11.6 percent) 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 October 2015, there were 22,181 individuals employed in Starr County, while during the same month, 5,865 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, October 2015:

• Brownsville: 68,577
• McAllen: 60,224
• Edinburg: 35,520
• Mission: 31,085
• Pharr: 26,883
• Harlingen: 22,866
• Weslaco: 13,441

Edinburg 2015 Employment, By Month:

• October 2015: 35,520
• September 2015: 35,316
• 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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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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