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For third straight month, Edinburg registers the lowest unemployment figure among major Valley cities with a 4.8 percent rate for November 2015

Featured: Mark Iglesias, President of the Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, prior to leading the EEDC Board of Directors meeting, held on Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at Edinburg City Hall.
Photograph By DIEGO REYNA

Edinburg posted the lowest unemployment rate among the Valley’s major communities for the month of November 2015, coming in at 4.8 percent, which was the best showing for the city for that month since November 2007, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. 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. In addition to Edinburg posting the lowest unemployment rate in the Valley for November 2015, Edinburg and McAllen shared the lowest unemployment rates in October and September (4.9 percent for each month). Also according to the latest data, which was released on Friday, December 18, 2015 by the Texas Workforce Commission, there were 35,674 people employed in Edinburg during the month of November 2015. Edinburg’s latest showing was better than the U.S. unemployment rate for November 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 November 2015 figure of 4.8 percent continues a year-long pattern of positive reports: 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). EEDC Board President Iglesias said the good news on the city’s workforce came a day before the Valley celebrated the first class of university graduates from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which has its main campus in Edinburg. “UT Rio Grande Valley, which represents the combination of what formerly were two independent Valley campuses, UT Pan American in Edinburg and UT Brownsville, celebrated yet another landmark first with the December 19 commencement ceremonies under its new and proud name, which went into effect during the Fall 2015 semester,” said Iglesias. The Edinburg campus of UTRGV hosted two ceremonies for a total of 1,456 graduates at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, while the Brownsville campus had its own ceremony that morning for 633 graduates at its Student Union Building, according to UTRGV officials. “Many of these graduates will find jobs here in Edinburg and the Valley, while others will take their talents and skills throughout our nation,” Iglesias continued. “Wherever these outstanding graduates go, they will be incredible ambassadors for Edinburg and the Valley because here is where they earned a world-class education, and they will proudly let everyone know about where they came from and who we are.” Mayor García helped lead the Edinburg City Council in its successful lobbying efforts before the Texas Legislature in 2013 that resulted in the establishment of UTRGV and the creation of a School of Medicine. “Also during this holiday season, we learned that the School of Medicine, which will open a major campus in Edinburg next fall, received a $1,065,510 grant to improve the mental health of hundreds of young people in our region,” the mayor reported. “Such generous contributions, such as this one that comes from the Methodist Health Care Ministries of South Texas, Inc., means people remain employed to deliver these vital services, and that makes for a better and healthier quality-of-life and stronger economy.” The grant will support UTRGV School of Medicine in providing and enhancing integrated care to improve the mental health outcomes of high-risk, high-acuity children and adolescents in the Valley. The November 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 – 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).

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For third straight month, Edinburg registers the lowest unemployment figure among major Valley cities with a 4.8 percent rate for November 2015

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Edinburg posted the lowest unemployment figure among the Valley’s major communities for the month of November 2015, coming in at 4.8 percent, which was the best showing for the city for that month since November 2007, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

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

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.

In addition to Edinburg posting the lowest unemployment rate in the Valley for November 2015, Edinburg and McAllen shared the lowest unemployment rates in October and September (4.9 percent for each month).

Also according to the latest data, which was released on Friday, December 18, 2015 by the Texas Workforce Commission, there were 35,674 people employed in Edinburg during the month of November 2015.

Edinburg’s latest showing was better than the U.S. unemployment rate for November 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 November 2015 figure of 4.8 percent continues a year-long pattern of positive reports: 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).

UT RIO GRANDE VALLEY CELEBRATES GRADUATIONS OF 2,089 STUDENTS SET TO ENTER FULL-TIME WORKFORCES IN EDINBURG, VALLEY, TEXAS AND BEYOND

EEDC Board President Iglesias said the good news on the city’s workforce came a day before the Valley celebrated the first class of university graduates from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which has its main campus in Edinburg.

“UT Rio Grande Valley, which represents the combination of what formerly were two independent Valley campuses, UT Pan American in Edinburg and UT Brownsville, celebrated yet another landmark first with the Saturday, December 19 commencement ceremonies under its new and proud name, which went into effect during the Fall 2015 semester,” said Iglesias.

The Edinburg campus of UTRGV hosted two ceremonies at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo for a total of 1,456 graduates, while the Brownsville campus had its own ceremony that morning for 633 graduates at that campus’ Student Union Building, according to UTRGV officials.

“Many of these graduates will find jobs here in Edinburg and the Valley, while others will take their talents and skills throughout our nation,” Iglesias continued. “Wherever these outstanding graduates go, they will be incredible ambassadors for Edinburg and the Valley because here is where they earned a world-class education, and they will proudly let everyone know about where they came from and who we are.”

Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, a former member of the EEDC Board of Directors, who serves as founding UTRGV Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, noted the historic nature of the December 19 ceremonies.

“To our students, let me be the first to congratulate you on your success,” Rodríguez told thousands of students, parents, and friends at the event held in the State Farm Arena. “It is the season to be thankful and to celebrate. You are the first graduation class of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Congratulations! Felicidades!”

$1 MILLION GRANT AWARDED TO UTRGV SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Mayor García helped lead the Edinburg City Council in its successful lobbying efforts before the Texas Legislature in 2013 that resulted in the establishment of UTRGV and the creation of a School of Medicine.

“Also during this holiday season, we learned that the School of Medicine, which will open a major campus in Edinburg next fall, received a $1,065,510 grant to improve the mental health of hundreds of young people in our region,” the mayor reported. “Such generous contributions, such as this one that comes from the Methodist Health Care Ministries of South Texas, Inc., means people are employed to deliver these vital services, and that makes for a better and healthier quality-of-life and stronger economy.”

The grant will support UTRGV School of Medicine in providing and enhancing integrated care to improve the mental health outcomes of high-risk, high-acuity children and adolescents in the Valley.

“This is an important and very generous grant for the School of Medicine, and we are extremely grateful to Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas for their ongoing support,” said Dr. Francisco Fernández, inaugural Dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine.

“Our goal is to create a collaborative network in the Valley community that will address the needs of our at-risk youth,” said Fernández. “This grant will help us develop that goal, especially through our program at the John Austin Peña Memorial Center.”

The grant will fund services for 300 clients and 1,200 visits.

With the grant, ICCU aims to:

• Advance access to treatment for adolescents with substance abuse/appetitive drive disorders, psychiatric illness and health concerns;
• Promote inclusion and integration of behavioral medicine to the scope of primary care;
• Improve access to dental services;
• Improve collaboration and integration of scarce specialty resources; and
• Improve outreach to build community capacity for complex, high-risk, triply-diagnosed adolescents.

CITY’S 4.8 PERCENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE REMAINS CLOSE TO STATE RATE

Edinburg’s November 2015 unemployment rate of 4.8 percent remained close to the Texas statewide average, which was 4.5 percent in November, 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, 4 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 248 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for November 2015 and November 2014. In November 2015, there were 35,674 employed in Edinburg, compared with 35,922 persons employed in Edinburg in November 2014.

The November 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 – 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:

• Edinburg: November (4.8 percent); 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);

• McAllen: November (4.9 percent); 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);

• Harlingen: November (5.8 percent); October (5.7 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);

• Mission: November (6.2 percent); 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);

• Weslaco: November (6.8 percent); 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);

• Pharr: November (7.1 percent); (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: November (7.1 percent); October (6.5 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.

ADDITIONAL REGIONAL ECONOMIC STATISTICS

All cities combined in Hidalgo County averaged an 8.0 percent unemployment rate in November 2015, compared to October (7.4 percent), 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 7.1 percent unemployment rate in November 2015, compared to October (6.7 percent), 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 November 2015, there were 308,901 individuals employed in Hidalgo County, while 152,161 persons were employed in Cameron County.

All cities combined in Starr County averaged a 13.7 percent unemployment rate in November 2015, compared to October (12.9 percent), 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 November 2015, compared to October (12.7 percent), 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 November 2015, there were 22,282 individuals employed in Starr County, while during the same month, 5,755 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, November 2015:

• Brownsville: 68,932
• McAllen: 60,484
• Edinburg: 35,674
• Mission: 31,219
• Pharr: 26,999
• Harlingen: 22,984
• Weslaco: 13,499

Edinburg 2015 Employment, By Month:

• November 2015: 35,674
• October 2015: 35,541
• 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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Jennifer L. Berghom, Cheryl Taylor and Melissa Vázquez 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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