Featured: Mayor Pro Tem Homer Jasso, Jr., on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, helps set the stage for the State of the City Address by Mayor Richard García, which focused on economic development gains for Edinburg. In the latest showing of the strength of the city’s economy, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts reported on Tuesday, October 7, 2015 that Edinburg’s retail economy, from January through August 2015, is almost seven percent ahead of last year’s pace.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
Edinburg’s retail economy from January through August 2015 is almost seven percent ahead of the same period last year, a figure that is better than the statewide average of all Texas cities, which came in with a 4.3 percent improvement year for the same eight-month period, 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. For the month of August 2015, the city’s retail economy registered a 13.89 percent rate of improvement over the same month last year, the EEDC added, according to data released on Tuesday, October 7, by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. During the first eight months of 2015, Edinburg’s retail economy produced $16,812,351.02 in local sales taxes, compared with $15,753,379.17 for January through August 2014, representing an improvement of 6.72 percent. In August 2015, the city’s retail economy generated $1,671,788.87 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,467,867.49 for August 2014, representing an improvement of 13.89 percent, also according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. By comparison, the average rate for all cities in Texas dropped .04 percent in August 2015 compared with August 2014. The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the EEDC uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city. The amount of local sales taxes collected also helps reflect the strength of an economy, along with construction activities, per capita income, education, historical performances, and related trends. The sales tax, formally known as the State Sales and Use Tax, is imposed on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods, as well as taxable services. Texas cities, counties, transit authorities and special purpose districts have the option of imposing an additional local sales tax for a combined total of state and local taxes of 8 1/4% (.0825).
Featured, from left: Mayor Pro Tem Homer Jasso, Jr., with his wife, Belinda, holding the Bible while his father, Precinct 4, Place 2 Justice of the Peace Homer Jasso, administers the oath of office on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, at Edinburg City Hall. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council help shape and approve the policies of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. In the most recent findings by the Texas Workforce Commission, the 5.1 percent unemployment rate in Edinburg for June 2015 was the best showing for that month for Edinburg since 2005.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
Edinburg’s unemployment rate for June 2015 was 5.1 percent, the best showing for that month for Edinburg since at least 2005, when a new formula was developed by the Texas Workforce Commission in how it estimates unemployment statistics, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. Edinburg was edged out by McAllen, which posted a five percent unemployment rate, for the top spot in June among the Valley’s major economies. The city’s latest performance also was better than the U.S. unemployment rate for June 2015, which was 5.3 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000). The EEDC, a public entity which is part of the Edinburg city government, is led by Mayor Richard García, who serves as President of the five-member Board of Directors. Agustín “Gus” García, Jr. (no relation to the mayor) is the Executive Director of the EEDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. Edinburg’s June 2015 figure of 5.1 percent continues a year-long pattern of the positive reports: May 2015 (4.8 percent); April 2015 (4.6 percent); March 2015 (4.8 percent); February 2015 (4.8 percent); and January 2015 (5.1 percent). Edinburg’s June 2015 unemployment rate of 5.1 percent remained close to the Texas statewide average, which was 4.4 percent in June, 4.1 percent for May 2015, four percent for April 2015, 4.2 percent for March 2015, 4.3 percent for February 2015, and 4.6 percent for January 2015, according to Texas Workforce Commission figures. The data represents an increase of 247 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for June 2015 and June 2014. In June 2015, there were 35,493 persons employed in Edinburg, compared with 35,246 in June 2014. The June 2015 unemployment rate of 5.1 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). Among its many duties, the Texas Workforce Commission provides information and analysis on shifts in occupations and industries within the state, including unemployment rates and employment figures, broken down by cities, counties, and regions in Texas, on a monthly basis. 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