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Featured, from left: Richard Sánchez, Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Verónica Gonzáles, Vice President for Governmental and Community Relations, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, presented a portrait of the inaugural class of students at the School of Medicine in Edinburg to Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García and the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court in appreciation for the financial help from the county. The county has pledged to support the medical school with annual contributions of $1 million for 10 years, beginning in 2014. To date, the county has provided $3 million to the medical school. On Monday, December 12, 2016, Mayor Richard García (no relation to the county judge) presented UTRGV leaders a check for $1 million from the City of Edinburg as part of Edinburg’s agreement to also help support the School of Medicine in Edinburg.

Photograph By EVANA VLECK

In December 2016, Edinburg reached the largest number of full-time employees for the year – 36,850 – according to the Texas Workforce Commission, and the city registered the second-best unemployment rate in the Valley for that month, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Edinburg’s unemployment rate for December 2016 came in at 5.1 percent, edged only by McAllen’s 4.9 percent unemployment rate, and ahead of Harlingen, which posted a 5.8 percent unemployment rate for that period. Those three cities were the only Valley communities with December 2016 figures under six percent unemployment. Also according to the Texas Workforce Commission, which on Friday, January 20, 2017 released the latest data on jobs in the state, Edinburg saw a growth of more than 1,000 jobs when comparing employment in December 2016 with December 2015. The Texas Workforce Commission reported there were 36,850 people employed in Edinburg during the month of December 2016. That performance represents an increase of 1,072 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for December 2016 (36,850) and December 2015 (35,778). 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 Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Richard García and Agustín García, Jr. are not related.

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Edinburg’s 5.1 percent unemployment rate for December 2016, second best in the Valley, reflects the city’s largest number of full-time jobs for the year, Texas Workforce Commission reports

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

In December 2016, Edinburg reached the largest number of full-time employees for the year – 36,850 – according to the Texas Workforce Commission, and the city registered the second-best unemployment rate in the Valley for that month, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

Edinburg’s unemployment rate for December 2016 came in at 5.1 percent, edged only by McAllen’s 4.9 percent unemployment rate, and ahead of Harlingen, which posted a 5.8 percent unemployment rate for that period. Those three cities were the only Valley communities with December 2016 figures under six percent unemployment.

Also according to the Texas Workforce Commission, which on Friday, January 20, 2017 released the latest data on jobs in the state, Edinburg saw a growth of more than 1,000 jobs when comparing employment in December 2016 with December 2015.

The Texas Workforce Commission reported there were 36,850 people employed in Edinburg during the month of December 2016. That performance represents an increase of 1,072 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for December 2016 (36,850) and December 2015 (35,778).

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 Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.

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

In addition to July 2016, when Edinburg’s unemployment rate of 5.5 percent was tied for lowest with McAllen, Edinburg in 2015 posted the Valley’s lowest unemployment rates 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 the Texas Workforce Commission.

During this 24-month period (January 2015 through December 2016), when Edinburg did not have the lowest monthly figure, it came in a close second to McAllen.

The state’s unemployment rate in December 2016 was 4.6 percent, compared with 4.2 percent in December 2015.

The U.S. unemployment rate in December 2016 was 4.7 percent, compared with 5 percent the same month the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000).

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 December 2016 figure of 5.1 percent is part of a consistent pattern of positive reports, including November 2016 (4.6 percent), October 2016 (4.7 percent); September 2016 (5.4 percent); August 2016 (5.4 percent), July 2016 (5.5 percent), 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) 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

December 2016: 4.9 percent; November 2016: 4.4 percent; October 2016: 4.5 percent; September 2016: 5.2 percent; August 2016: 5.4 percent; July 2016: 5.5 percent; 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

December: 5.1 percent; November: 4.6 percent; October: 4.7 percent; September: 5.4 percent; August: 5.4 percent; July 2016: 5.5 percent: 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

December: 5.8 percent; November: 5.4 percent; October: 5.7 percent; September: 6.1 percent; August: 6.2 percent; July 2016: 6 percent; 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

December 2016: 6.2 percent; November 2016: 5.5 percent; October 2016: 5.5 percent; September 2016: 6.2 percent; August: 6.3 percent; July 2016: 6.6 percent; 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.

Pharr

December 2016: 6.7 percent; November 2016: 5.8 percent; October 2016: 5.6 percent; September: 6.7 percent; August 2016: 6.9 percent; July 2016: 7.1 percent: June 2016: 6.9 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.

Weslaco

December 2016: 6.9 percent; November 2016: 5.7 percent; October 2016: 4.9 percent; September 2016: 6.2 percent; August 2016: 6.5 percent; July 2016: 6.9 percent; 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.

Brownsville

December: 7.6 percent; November: 6.9 percent; October: 6.8 percent; September 2016: 7.8 percent; August 2016: 7.9 percent; July 2016: 8 percent; June: 7.8 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 December 2016, compared with 7.1 percent in November 2016, 6.7 percent in October 2016, 7.9 percent in September 2016, 8.4 percent in August 2016, 8.5 percent in July, 8.2 percent in June 2016, 7 percent in May 2016, 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 7.3 percent unemployment rate in December 2016, compared with 6.6 percent in November 2016, 6.6 percent in October 2016, 7.5 percent in September 2016, 7.6 percent in August 2016, 7.7 percent in July 2016, 7.5 percent in June 2016, 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 December 2016, there were 316,458 individuals employed in Hidalgo County, while 156,409 persons were employed in Cameron County during the same month.

All cities combined in Starr County averaged a 14.1 percent unemployment rate in December 2016, compared with 12.3 percent in November 2016, 11.7 percent in October 2016, 13.7 percent in September 2016, 14.1 percent in August 2016, 14.4 percent in July 2016, 14 percent in June 2016, 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 an 11.5 percent unemployment rate in December 2016, compared with 10.8 percent in November 2016, 11 percent in October 2016, 12.8 percent in September 2016, 13.3 percent in August 2016, 14.2 percent in July 2016, 13.9 percent in June 2016, 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 December 2016, there were 22,822 individuals employed in Starr County, while during the same month, 5,501 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, December 2016:

• Brownsville: 70,790
• McAllen: 61,711
• Edinburg: 36,850
• Mission: 31,939
• Pharr: 27,743
• Harlingen: 23,540
• Weslaco: 13,764

Edinburg 2016 Employment, By Month:

• December: 36,850
• November: 36,644
• October: 36,394
• September 2016: 36,283
• August 2016: 36,050
• July 2016: 35,725
• June 2016: 36,367
• 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

• Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.8 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

• Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.9 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

TEXAS ENDS 2016 WITH 210,200 JOBS ADDED OVER THE YEAR

Texas has added an estimated 210,200 seasonally adjusted jobs since December 2015 with the addition of 800 nonfarm jobs this December. The state has added jobs in 20 of the past 21 months. Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate maintained a 4.6 percent rate in December.

“Texas employers continue to boost the diverse Texas economy by adding jobs, including 210,200 over the year,” said TWC Chairman Andrés Alcantar. “Thanks to the innovation and efforts of employers in a range of industries, Texas workers continue to have more opportunities to demonstrate their world-class work ethic and skills.”

The Education and Health Services industry recorded the largest private-industry employment gain over the month with 7,300 jobs added. Leisure and Hospitality employment grew by 3,900 jobs in December, and Manufacturing employment expanded by 1,400 jobs.

“Private-sector employment has been strong over the year with overall job growth of 172,600 jobs added,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs. “These numbers are a testament to the perseverance and resilience of our Texas employers and the diversity of our Texas economy.”

The Amarillo, Austin-Round Rock and Lubbock Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) recorded the month’s lowest unemployment rate among Texas MSAs with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 3.2 percent, followed by the College Station-Bryan MSA with a rate of 3.4 for December.

“The Texas labor force has continued to provide employers with the skills and expertise needed to keep the Texas economy growing,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julián Álvarez. “TWC and the 28 local workforce boards are committed to connecting Texas workers with available jobs.”

An audio download with comments from Chairman Alcantar on the latest labor market data is available on the TWC website press release page. Employment estimates released by TWC are produced in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. All estimates are subject to revision. To access this and more employment data, visit tracer2.com.

UTRGV SCHOOL OF MEDICINE STUDENTS FROM EDINBURG CAMPUS THANK LOCAL LEADERS FOR THEIR FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Fifty-four future doctors – the prospective Class of 2020 – were at Hidalgo County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, to thank county government leaders for their continued support of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine.

The county has pledged to support the medical school with annual contributions of $1 million for 10 years, beginning in 2014. To date, the county has provided $3 million to the medical school.

The inaugural class of medical students began their studies in July 2016. They will spend the first two years studying in Edinburg and the last two years in Harlingen.

“More than 2,700 students applied to the program and only 55 were admitted,” said Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García. “The students come from all parts of Texas as well as from California, Maine, Florida, Arizona, New York, and Illinois and 20 are from the Rio Grande Valley.”

Verónica Gonzáles, Vice President for Governmental and Community Relations for UTRGV, said there will be increased access to excellent healthcare by culturally attuned doctors trained at home, as well as more and better research that will impact diseases prevalent in the Rio Grande Valley.

“One of our proudest moments in opening the School of Medicine was meeting all the stellar students who are not only book smart, but also compassionate and care about serving our community,” said Gonzáles. “We’d like to thank Hidalgo County Commissioners Court for the tremendous support.”

Four students spoke on behalf of the class stating that having a medical school in the Rio Grande Valley has provided better access to higher education and will produce physicians who stay here to practice medicine.

“On behalf of Dr. Guy Bailey, our Provost Havidán Rodríguez, our School of Medicine Dean Dr. Steve Lieberman, and all our administrators, faculty, staff and students, we thank you for your partnership and for your continued support of our UTRGV School of Medicine,” added Gonzáles.

On Monday, December 12, 2016, Mayor Richard García (no relation to the county judge) presented UTRGV leaders a check for $1 million from the City of Edinburg as part of Edinburg’s agreement to also help support the School of Medicine in Edinburg.

View Photos >>

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Lisa Givens, Julie Sullivan, and Evana Vleck 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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