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07_23_16 ___ Dr. Bailey, Chancellor McRaven, Provost Rodriguez
Featured: Guy Bailey, Ph.D, President, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; William H. McRaven, Chancellor, The University of Texas System; and Havidán Rodríguez, Ph.D.,  Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, on Saturday, July 23, 2016. The three UT System leaders were among hundreds of other dignitaries, family, and well-wishers who gathered at the UTRGV  Performing Arts Complex auditorium in Edinburg to congratulate the inaugural class of 55 students who are beginning their first year of medical school in Edinburg. The Edinburg Mayor, Edinburg City Council, and Edinburg Economic Development Corporation played key roles in 2013 in securing a full-fledged medical school from the Texas Legislature for deep South Texas. Rodríguez also is a former member of the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors.

Photograph By DAVID PIKE

For the first time in almost a  year, Edinburg’s unemployment rate rose above five percent, based on the June 2016 estimate by the Texas Workforce Commission, but that figure still represents the best showing for that month in the city since June 2008, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Edinburg, with a 5.4 percent monthly unemployment rate, along with McAllen (5.1 percent) and Harlingen (5.7 percent), were the only three cities in deep South Texas to post figures for June 2016 under six percent, the Texas Workforce Commission reported on Friday, July 22, 2016. According to the latest data, there were 36,322 people employed in Edinburg during the month of June 2016. That performance represents an increase of 612 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for June 2016 (36,322) and June 2015 (35,710).

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As first class of UTRGV medical students participates in “White Coat” ceremony at local campus, Edinburg reports it’s lowest June unemployment figure in almost a decade
 
By DAVID A. DÍAZ
 
For the first time in almost a  year, Edinburg’s unemployment rate rose above five percent, based on the June 2016 estimate by the Texas Workforce Commission, but that figure still represented the best showing for that month in the city since June 2008, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.
 
Edinburg, with a 5.4 percent monthly unemployment rate,  along with McAllen (5.1 percent) and Harlingen (5.7 percent), were the only three cities in deep South Texas to post figures for June 2016 under six percent, the Texas Workforce Commission reported on Friday, July 22, 2016. 
 
These most recent figures by the Texas Workforce Commission came as University of Texas System leaders were among hundreds of other dignitaries, family and well-wishers who gathered at the UT Rio Grande Valley Performing Arts Complex auditorium in Edinburg to congratulate the inaugural class of 55 students who are beginning their first year of medical school in Edinburg. 
 
The Edinburg Mayor, Edinburg City Council, and Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation played key roles in 2013 in securing a full-fledged medical school from the Texas Legislature for deep South Texas. Rodríguez also is a former member of the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors.
 
Also according to the Texas Workforce Commission, there were 36,322 people employed in Edinburg during the month of June 2016. 
 
That performance represents an increase of 612 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for June 2016 (36,322) and June 2015 (35,710).
 
The state’s unemployment rate in June 2016 was 4.8 percent, compared with 4.7 percent during the same month in 2015.
 
The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.
 
The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr.  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.
 
MCALLEN, EDINBURG AND HARLINGEN EACH POST UNEMPLOYMENT RATES IN THE FIVE PERCENT RANGE
 
In addition to April 2016, when Edinburg’s unemployment rate of 4.5 percent was tied for lowest with McAllen, Edinburg in 2015 posted the Valley’s lowest 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.
 
During this 18-month period (January 2015 through June 2016), when Edinburg did not have the lowest monthly figure, it came in a close second to McAllen.
 
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 June 2016 figure of 5.4 percent is part of a consistent pattern of positive reports, including May 2016 (4.5 percent) April 2016 (4.5 percent), 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 
 
June 2016: 5.1 percent; May 2016: 4.4 percent; 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
 
June 2016: 5.4 percent: May 2016: 4.5 percent; 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
 
June 2016: 5.7 percent; May 2016: 5.3 percent; 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.
 
Mission
 
June 2016: 6.3 percent; May 2016: 5.7 percent; 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.
 
Weslaco
 
June 2016: 6.7 percent; May 2016: 5.2 percent; 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 
 
June 2016: 7 percent; May 2016: 5.7 percent; 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.
 
Brownsville 
 
June: 7.9 percent; May: 6.6 percent; 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 an 8.2 percent unemployment rate in June 2016, compared with 7 percent in May, 7.2 percent in April 2016, 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 7.6 percent unemployment rate in June 2016, compared with 6.6 percent in May 2016, 6.7 percent  in April 2016, 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 June 2016, there were 311,923 individuals employed in Hidalgo County, while 157,195 persons were employed in Cameron County during the same month.
 
All cities combined in Starr County averaged a 14 percent unemployment rate in June 2016, compared with 12.4 percent in May 2016, 13.5 percent in April 2016, 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 13.9 percent unemployment rate in June 2016, compared with 12.4 percent in May 2016, 12.3 percent in April 2016, 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 June 2016, there were 22,594 individuals employed in Starr County, while during the same month, 5,579 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, June 2016:
 
• Brownsville: 71,146
• McAllen: 60,826
• Edinburg: 36,322
• Mission: 31,481
• Pharr: 27,345
• Harlingen: 23,658
• Weslaco: 13,567
 
Edinburg 2016 Employment, By Month:
 
• June 2016: 36,322
• May 2016: 36,758
• April 2016: 36,608
• 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
 
UTRGV SCHOOL OF MEDICINE CLASS OF 2020 DON WHITE COATS DURING CEREMONY IN EDINBURG
 
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine celebrated another first on Saturday, July 23, 2016, when it welcomed its first 55 students into the medical profession with the inaugural White Coat Ceremony.
 
Families, School of Medicine faculty, state and local dignitaries and others in attendance cheered as the students entered the Performing Arts Complex auditorium at the Edinburg campus.
 
Dr. Leonel Vela, Senior Associate Dean for Education and Academic Affairs, called the ceremony “an auspicious experience.”
 
“This moving ceremony is intended to impress upon them the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship,” he said. “It encourages them to enter into a social contract in which they accept the obligations inherent in the practice of medicine.” 
 
The Arnold P. Gold Foundation started the White Coat Ceremony in 1993 to welcome new medical students to the health care profession. Today, about 97 percent of medical schools in the United States, as well as schools for other healthcare professions, perform such ceremonies.
 
White Coat ceremonies serve as a rite of passage for medical school students. Each student, carrying a white coat, walked across the stage and had Interim Dean Dr. Steven A. Lieberman and Founding Dean Dr. Francisco Fernández helped them don the coat for the first time.
 
After the cloaking, medical student Rouzbeh Kotaki led his fellow medical students in taking the Hippocratic Oath, which acknowledges their primary role as caregivers, in front of their loved ones, school leaders and peers.
 
Throughout the ceremony, students heard encouraging words from UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven, UTRGV President Guy Bailey, UTRGV Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, as well as Fernández and Lieberman.
 
Dr. Darrell Kirch, President and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, delivered the keynote address, recounting some of his own experiences as a medical student. He stressed that patients should be at the forefront of everything they do, and cited the four key principles of medical ethics – beneficence, do no harm, patient autonomy and social justice. 
 
He said this School of Medicine, and they, as students here, have a chance to promote social justice in healthcare by bringing care to people in medically underserved areas.
 
“This is where we struggle as a profession and where we struggle as a nation,” he said. “I look at health care all around this country and the thing that saddens me the most is, despite being the richest, the most powerful nation on earth, we are a country in which there are healthcare haves and healthcare have nots. … Promise that you’ll join with me. Let’s try turning our attention to creating a just system.”
 
After the ceremony, the medical students said they are honored to be a part of the inaugural class and hope to serve the Rio Grande Valley well.
 
Cristina Cepeda, who grew up in Edinburg and attended Donna ISD schools before graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from UT Pan American in 2014, said her parents instilled in her the importance of earning a college degree. Now that the medical school has come, she said, she has been able to exceed her family’s expectations, earning her medical degree at home and giving back to the community that has supported her.
 
“I grew up seeing the necessities of my community and knowing that now I can stay here while I’m learning medicine and then apply it to my own community,” she said. “It’s a dream.” 
 
Shawn Izadi, a Coppell, Texas, native and graduate of UT Austin, said he came to UTRGV because he likes being a trendsetter and was taken by the innovative curriculum and caring faculty and staff.
 
“This is truly an amazing environment,” he said. “The community is here for us. I knew this was the place to be.”
 
There was a private reception following the White Coat Ceremony for students and their families at the Medical Education Building. 
 
The reception included a short program during which Texas senators Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Eddie Lucio Jr. D-Brownsville, presented the School of Medicine with a resolution commemorating the milestone.
 
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Jennifer L. Berghom contributed to this story. 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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