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Photograph By DIEGO REYNA

Featured: Councilmember David Torres, Mayor Richard García, and Mayor Pro Tem Richard Molina, at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance on Thursday, May 19, 2016, following the mayor’s State of the City Address about Edinburg to about 300 area residents in attendance and thousands more who viewed it on the Edinburg Cable Network.

Photograph By DIEGO REYNA

Edinburg’s unemployment rate for April 2016 of 4.5 percent marked the fourth consecutive month that the city posted a monthly figure of less than five percent, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced, The April 2016 figure of 4.5 percent is the best showing for that month in almost a decade, when the city posted a 4.0 percent unemployment rate in April 2008. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, there were 36,636 people employed in Edinburg during the month of April 2016. That performance represents an increase of 758 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for April 2016 (36,636) and April 2015 (35,878).

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Edinburg registers lowest unemployment rate – 4.5 percent – among Valley’s cities for April 2016, reports Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr.

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Edinburg’s unemployment rate for April 2016 of 4.5 percent marked the fourth consecutive month that the city posted a monthly figure of less than five percent, with McAllen being the only other Valley city in that category, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

The April 2016 figure of 4.5 percent is the best showing for that month in almost a decade, when the city posted a 4.0 percent unemployment rate in April 2008.

In addition, Edinburg’s unemployment rate has been under five percent during nine months since January 2015.

According to the latest data, which was released on Friday, May 20, 2016 by the Texas Workforce Commission, there were 36,636 people employed in Edinburg during the month of April 2016.

That performance represents an increase of 758 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for April 2016 (36,636) and April 2015 (35,878).

Edinburg’s latest showing also is better than the U.S. unemployment rate for April 2016, which was five percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000).

The city’s 4.5 percent figure in April 2016 is better than the annual unemployment rate in Edinburg for 2o15 of 5.1 percent. The 5.1 percent annual unemployment rate for the city in 2015 was the best yearly performance since 2008, when Edinburg registered a 4.9 percent annual unemployment figure.

The state’s unemployment rate in April 2016 was 4.2 percent, while the annual unemployment rate in Texas for 2015 was 4.5 percent.

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.

MAYOR GARCÍA: EDINBURG BECOMING A ‘DESTINATION CITY”

The strong performance of Edinburg’s economy and its positive impact on the quality of life was featured during the mayor’s State of the City Address, which he delivered on Thursday, May 19, 2016, before a full house at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance.

“Together, we have created the beginning of a Rio Grande Valley ‘Destination City.’ We have something for everyone,” said Mayor García, as he shared credit with the Edinburg City Council, the EEDC Board of Directors, and city and EEDC staff.

“There’s the upcoming Bert Ogden Arena – the new, 8,500-seat facility for the RGV Vipers (affiliate of the NBA’s Houston Rockets) – and a 9,500-seat soccer stadium for the region’s newest professional franchise, the RGV FC Toros (affiliate of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo) to the promise of a bright and healthy future that lies within the new University of Texas Rio Grande Valley $54 million UTRGV School of Medicine Medical Education Building you now see changing the cityscape of our beloved home,” the mayor noted.

EDINBURG EDC BOARD PRESIDENT IGLESIAS: “HUGE STRIDES ARE PART OF VISION PLAN” OF MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH EEDC

Edinburg, which is approaching a population of 90,000 – not including tens of thousands of people who come to work or go to school in the city during the week days – is projected to see more advances in the coming months and years.

EEDC Board President Iglesias agreed that Edinburg continues its unprecedented transformation into a regional and statewide leader on many different levels.

“The huge strides that have been made in establishing and marketing our hometown as a destination city are part of the vision plan that the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council and their staff, in partnership with the EEDC Board of Directors and our staff, continue to build upon,” said Iglesias. “Throughout the state and beyond, Edinburg quickly comes to mind as an ideal place to build or bring a business, and especially in which to live and raise a family. This contributes to job growth as well.”

The mayor and city council lead the charge, with the EEDC implementing the policy directions of the these elected leaders – Mayor García, Mayor Pro Tem Richard Molina, Councilmember J.R. Betancourt, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr. and Councilmember David Torres.

Population growth, which translates into more jobs, is seen “in the booming construction of housing throughout Edinburg, both in the form of homes and apartments, representing $225 million in value since January 2015 through March 2016,” Iglesias added, citing a May 19, 2016 news release by Irma Garza, the city’s Director of Public Information.

As an example, in 2015, 594 apartment units were built in Edinburg, valued at more than $14 million, not counting the price of the lots, with 448 more currently under construction, according to the city’s Code Enforcement Department, Iglesias reported.

“Also in 2015, according to the city’s city’s Code Enforcement Department, 340 single-family residences were approved for construction in 2015, valued at almost $48 million, not counting the price of the lots,” Iglesias added. “In all, construction and related building activities in Edinburg totaled more than $139.5 million in value in 2015, almost $20 million ahead of the figure reached in 2014.”

Edinburg consistently places well in the minds of businesses owners, both current and future, due to its stable economy, its diverse industry mix of healthcare, government, public and higher education, and services, said EEDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr. “

“We are happy to say the job market in Edinburg is steadily growing,” said the EEDC executive director.

In addition to the Bert Ogden Arena, the RGV FC Toros soccer stadium, and the UTRGV School of Medicine Medical Education Facility, other major private and public projects are now underway in Edinburg, which will account for several thousand additional employees in the near future.

“With the opening of Santana Textiles, which is part of an international corporation which produces the fifth-largest amount of denim in the world, we also will benefit from the planned expansions of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and Edinburg Regional Medical Center,” said the EEDC executive director. “The job outlook is bright for ancillary industries such as construction, health care , industry and entertainment. Retail, manufacturing, hospitality and entertainment industries also are booming in Edinburg. These are exciting times for anyone looking for work in these markets.”

During his closing remarks during his State of the City Address, where he provided more details on growth and prosperity in Edinburg, Mayor García saved his highest praise for citizens.

“There is a sense of ambition that resonates in our city,” the mayor reflected. “Edinburg is place with a big heart, a fierce spirit, and with our eyes on the future – with resolve to make tomorrow better than today.”

With deserved pride in his community, Mayor García added, “We do not run from challenges – and we have had a few – we embrace them, we confront them together, as a family does. We do not shy away from opportunity. We reach for it.”

EDINBURG AND MCALLEN SHARE LOWEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATES FOR APRIL 2016

Edinburg’s April 2016 unemployment rate of 4.5 percent, which was the best in the Valley, was matched only by McAllen’s 4.5 percent unemployment rate for April 2016.

During 2015, Edinburg had the Valley’s best unemployment rate in November (4.7 percent) and in September (5 percent), and tied with McAllen for the lowest monthly figures in October (4.9 percent) and January (5.2 percent), according to the latest figures released by the Texas Workforce Commission.

Edinburg’s annual unemployment rate for 2015 compared favorably with the Valley’s other major cities:

• The annual unemployment rate in McAllen for 2015 was 5 percent;
• The annual unemployment rate in Edinburg for 2015 was 5.1 percent;
• The annual unemployment rate in Harlingen for 2o15 was 5.9 percent;
• The annual unemployment rate in Mission for 2o15 was 6.2 percent;
• The annual unemployment rate in Weslaco for 2o15 was 6.5 percent;
• The annual unemployment rate in Pharr for 2o15 was 6.9 percent; and
• The annual unemployment rate in Brownsville for 2o15 was 7 percent.

Edinburg’s April 2016 figure of 4.5 percent is part of a consistent pattern of positive reports, including March 2016 (4.7 percent), February 2016 (4.5 percent) and January 2016 (4.8 percent), and 2015’s showings – December (4.7 percent), November (4.7 percent), October (4.9 percent), September (5 percent), August (5.4 percent), July (5.7 percent), June (5.5 percent), May (5 percent), April (4.7 percent), March (4.8 percent), February (5 percent), and January (5.2 percent).

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: 2015 (5.1 percent), 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).

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 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.

Also according to the Texas Workforce Commission, the major cities in the four-county Valley have recorded the following monthly unemployment rates in 2016, and for each month in 2015, including the annual unemployment rate for each city for 2015:

McAllen

April 2016: 4.5 percent; March 2016: 4.6 percent; February 2015: 4.4 percent; January 2016: 4.7 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate 2015: December (4.5 percent), November (4.9 percent), October (4.9 percent), September (5.1 percent), August (5.2 percent), July (5.5 percent), June (5.4 percent), May (4.9 percent), April (4.5 percent), March (4.7 percent), February (4.9 percent), and January (5.2 percent).

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5 percent.

Edinburg

April 2016: 4.5 percent; March 2016: 4.7 percent; February 2016: 4.5 percent; January 2016: 4.8 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate 2015: December (4.7 percent), November (4.7 percent), October (4.9 percent), September (5 percent), August (5.4 percent), July (5.7 percent), June (5.5 percent), May (5 percent), April (4.7 percent), March (4.8 percent), February (5 percent), and January (5.2 percent).

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.1 percent.

Harlingen

April 2016: 5.2 percent; March 2016: 5.5 percent; February 2016: 5.5 percent; January 2016: 5.6 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate 2015: December (5.3 percent), November (5.7 percent), October (5.7 percent), September (5.9 percent), August (6.2 percent), July (6.4 percent), June (6.4 percent), May (5.9 percent), April (5.5 percent), March (5.7 percent), February (5.9 percent), and January (6.5 percent).

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.9 percent.

Weslaco

April 2016: 5.3 percent; March: 6 percent; February 2016: 6 percent; January 2016: 7.1 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate 2015: December (6.9 percent), November (6.7 percent), October (5.9 percent), September (6.7 percent), August (6.9 percent), July (6.7 percent), June (6.4 percent), May (6.1 percent), April (5.8 percent), March (6 percent), February (6.7 percent), and January (7.4 percent).

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.5 percent.

Pharr

April 2016: 5.9 percent; March 2016: 6.3 percent; February 2o16: 6.3 percent; January 2016: 6.8 percent.

During 2015: December (7.1 percent), November (7.1 percent), (October 6.5 percent), September (6.6 percent), August (7.3 percent), July (7.6 percent), June (7.4 percent), May (6.4 percent), April (6.2 percent), March (6.5 percent), February (6.9 percent), and January (7.7 percent).

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.9 percent.

Mission

April 2016: 6 percent; March 2016: 6.3 percent; February 2016: 6 percent; January 2016: 6.3 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate 2015: December (6.1 percent), November (6.2 percent), October (6.1 percent); September (6.1 percent), August (6.4 percent), July (6.7 percent), June (6.7 percent), May (6.1 percent), April (5.7 percent), March (5.8 percent), February (6 percent), and January (6.4 percent).

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.2 percent.

Brownsville

April: 6.7 percent; March: 6.9 percent; February: 6.8 percent; January 2016: 7 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate 2015: December (6.9 percent), November (6.9 percent), October (6.5 percent); September (6.6 percent), August (7 percent), July (7.2 percent), June (7.2 percent), May (6.7 percent), April (6.6 percent), March (7.1 percent), February (7.3 percent), and January (8 percent).

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 7 percent.

ADDITIONAL REGIONAL ECONOMIC STATISTICS

All cities combined in Hidalgo County averaged a 7.2 percent unemployment rate in April 2016, compared with 7.6 percent in March 2016, 7.5 percent in February 2016, and 8.1 percent in January 2016.

The combined monthly unemployment rates in 2015 in Hidalgo County were as follows: December (7.9 percent), November (7.9 percent), October (7.4 percent), September (7.7 percent), August (8.3 percent), July (8.5 percent), June (8.4 percent), May (7.6 percent), April (7.4 percent), March (7.6 percent), February (8 percent), and January (8.5 percent).

The annual combined unemployment rate in Hidalgo County for 2o15 was 7.9 percent.

All cities combined in Cameron County averaged a 6.7 percent unemployment rate in April 2016, compared with 6.9 percent in March 2016, 6.8 percent in February 2016 and 7.1 percent in January 2016.

The combined monthly unemployment rates in 2015 in Cameron County were as follows: December (6.8 percent), November (6.9 percent), October (6.7 percent), September (6.8 percent), August (7.1 percent), July (7.4 percent), June (7.5 percent), May (6.9 percent), April (6.8 percent), March (7.1 percent), February (7.4 percent), and January (7.9 percent).

The annual combined unemployment rate in Cameron County for 2o15 was 7.1 percent.

Also for April 2016, there were 314,626 individuals employed in Hidalgo County, while 156,598 persons were employed in Cameron County during the same month.

All cities combined in Starr County averaged a 13.6 percent unemployment rate in April 2016, compared with 14.5 percent in March 2016, 13.9 percent in February 2016, and 14.3 percent in January 2016.

The combined monthly unemployment rates in 2015 in Starr County were as follows: December (13.7 percent), November (13.6 percent), October (12.9 percent), September (12.7 percent), August (13.7 percent), July (14.1 percent), June (14.2 percent), May (13 percent), April (13.1 percent), March (13.8 percent), February (13.9 percent), and January (14.4 percent).

The annual combined unemployment rate in Starr County for 2o15 was 13.6 percent.

All cities combined in Willacy County averaged a 12.4 percent unemployment rate in April 2016, compared with 12.6 percent in March 2016, 12.1 percent in February 2016, and 12.6 percent in January 2016.

The combined monthly unemployment rates in 2015 in Willacy County were as follows: December (12.1 percent), November (12.6 percent), October (12.8 percent), September (12.6 percent), August (13.8 percent), July (14.4 percent), June (14.7 percent), May (13.5 percent), April (13.5 percent), March (13.2 percent), February (11.7 percent), and January (12.2 percent).

The annual combined unemployment rate in Willacy County for 2o15 was 13.1 percent.

For April 2016, there were 22,670 individuals employed in Starr County, while during the same month, 5,791 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, April 2016:

• Brownsville: 70,876
• McAllen: 61,354
• Edinburg: 36,636
• Mission: 31,754
• Pharr: 27,582
• Harlingen: 23,568
• Weslaco: 13,685

Edinburg 2016 Employment, By Month:

• April 2016: 36,636
• March 2016: 36,649
• February 2016: 36,260
• January 2016: 35,793

Edinburg 2015 Employment, By Month:

• December 2015: 35,778
• November 2015: 35,541
• October 2015: 35,540
• September 2015: 35,327
• August 2015: 35,096
• July 2015: 35,088
• June 2015: 35,710
• May 2015: 36,112
• April 2015: 35,878
• March 2015: 35,736
• February 2015: 35,451
• January 2015: 35,392

Edinburg 2014 Employment, By Month:

• December 2014: 35,572
• November 2014: 35,601
• October 2014: 35,520
• September 2014: 35,155
• August 2014: 34,739
• July 2014: 34,645
• June 2014: 35,338
• May 2014: 35,529
• April 2014: 35,497
• March 2014: 35,336
• February 2014: 35,229
• January 2014: 35,111

Edinburg 2013 Employment, By Month:

• December 2013: 35,132
• November 2013: 34,881
• October 2013: 34,445
• September 2013: 34,370
• August 2013: 33,999
• July 2013: 33,798
• June 2013: 34,382
• May 2013: 34,546
• April 2013: 34,613
• March 2013: 34,291
• February 2013: 34,227
• January 2013: 34,167

Edinburg Monthly Unemployment Rates, 2014:

• December: 4.7 percent
• November: 5.2 percent
• October: 5.5 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: 6.4 percent
• October: 7 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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