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For third consecutive month, Edinburg registers Valley’s lowest unemployment rate – 4.6 percent in April 2018 – an increase of 845 jobs compared with April 2017 figure

Featured: Dr. William F. Strong, Communications Professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and creator of the radio program “Stories from Texas,” is currently adapting “Stories” into a book. The audiobook is currently in production, and the radio show continues to air on 88FM (the Rio Grande Valley’s National Public Radio affiliate), as well as on other NPR and cable stations. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and its Board of Directors, lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on matters that benefit and protect UTRGV and its School of Medicine, which have major campuses in the city. 

Photograph by DAVID PIKE

••••••

For third consecutive month, Edinburg registers Valley’s lowest unemployment rate – 4.6 percent in April 2018 – an increase of 845 jobs compared with April 2017 figure

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

For the third consecutive month, Edinburg posted the lowest unemployment rate in the Rio Grande Valley, coming in at 4.6 percent for April 2018, with 39,252 individuals employed that month in the city, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

Edinburg was one of two Rio Grande Valley economies for April 2018 which had an unemployment rate of less than five percent. McAllen was second with a 4.7 percent unemployment rate.

For April 2018, there were 39,252 individuals employed in the city, compared with 38,407 persons working in April 2017 – representing an addition of 845 jobs, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, which released statewide figures on Friday, May 18, 2018.

Also, Edinburg saw a growth of 49 jobs when comparing the monthly total for April 2018 (39,252) and March 2018 (39,203), the Texas Workforce Commission also reported.

The unemployment rate for Edinburg during March 2018 was 4.7 percent.

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

The Edinburg EDC, of which Joey Treviño is the Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of Mayor Richard Molina, Mayor Pro-Tem David Torres, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, and Councilmember Jorge Salinas.

The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Councilmember Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Councilmember Salinas as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Molina and Mayor Pro Tem Torres as Members.

In addition, the April 2018 unemployment rate of 4.6 percent represents the sixth time during that month that the city’s unemployment rate has been below five percent since 2005, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

The number of jobs in Edinburg is independently documented by the Texas Workforce Commission, a state agency with many key duties, such as maintaining and reporting on key trends in state and local economies, including unemployment rates and the number of people employed in cities.

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.

For the past several years, Edinburg has registered the lowest or second-lowest monthly unemployment rate among all Valley cities.

Edinburg’s April 2018 unemployment rate of 4.6 percent is part of a consistent pattern of positive reports, including March 2018 unemployment rate of (4.7), February 2018 (4.9 percent), January 2018 (5.2 percent),  December 2017 (4.8 percent), November 2017 (4.8 percent), October 2017 (4.9 percent), September 2017 (5.3 percent), August 2017 (6 percent), July (5.7 percent), June 2017 (5.6), May 2017 (4.9 percent), April 2017 (4.8 percent), March 2017 (5.4 percent), February 2017 (5.9 percent) and January 2017 (6.1 percent).

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, for the month of April 2018, these are the employment figures for the seven largest cities in the Valley:

Brownsville: 71,401
McAllen: 63,881
Edinburg: 39,252
Mission: 32,663
Pharr: 28,708
Harlingen: 23,509
Weslaco: 14,784

CITY’S MONTHLY, ANNUAL UNEMPLOYMENT REMAIN AMONG BEST IN VALLEY

Edinburg’s April 2018 unemployment rate and the latest figures from the Valley’s most populated cities follow:

Edinburg: 4.6 percent
McAllen: 4.7 percent
Mission: 5.9 percent
Harlingen: 5.9 percent
Brownsville: 6.5 percent
Pharr: 7.3 percent
Weslaco: 7.4 percent

The state’s unemployment rate in April 2018 was 3.8 percent, compared with 4.1 percent in April 2017.

The U.S. unemployment rate in April 2018 was 3.9 percent, compared with 4.4 percent the same month the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000).

Edinburg’s annual unemployment rate for 2017 compared favorably with the Valley’s other major cities:

The annual unemployment rate in McAllen for 2017 was 5.1 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Edinburg for 2017 was 5.3 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Harlingen for 2o17 was 6.4 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Mission for 2o17 was 6.8 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Brownsville for 2017 was 7.2 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Weslaco for 2o17 was 8 percent; and
The annual unemployment rate in Pharr for 2o17 was  8.1 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: 2017 (5.3 percent), 2016 (5.8 percent), 2015 (5 percent), 2014 (5.8 percent), 2013 (7 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).

Edinburg’s 2018 employment, by month, follows:

April: 39,252
March: 39,203
February: 38,964
January: 38,514

Edinburg’s 2017 employment, by month, follows:

December: 38,595
November: 38,396
October: 38,181
September: 38,007
August: 37,442
July: 37,237
June: 38,047
May: 38,317
April: 38,407
March: 38,160
February: 37,895
January: 37,738

Also according to the Texas Workforce Commission, the major cities in the four-county Valley have recorded the following monthly unemployment rates in 2017,  2016, and 2015:

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EDINBURG

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

April: 4.6 percent
March: 4.7 percent
February: 4.9 percent
January: 5.2 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 4.8 percent
November 2017: 4.8 percent
October 2017: 4.9 percent
September 2017: 5.3 percent
August: 6 percent
July: 5.7 percent
June: 5.6 percent
May: 4.9 percent
April: 4.8 percent
March: 5.4 percent
February: 5.9 percent
January: 6.1 percent

2017 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.3 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016 

December: 5.7 percent
November: 5.6 percent
October: 5.7 percent
September: 6.2 percent
August: 6.2 percent
July: 6.4 percent
June: 6.3 percent
May: 5.2 percent
April: 5.3 percent
March: 5.5 percent
February: 5.3 percent
January: 5.7 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate 2015

December: 4.7 percent
November: 4.6 percent
October: 4.9 percent
September: 5 percent
August: 5.4 percent
July: 5.7 percent
June: 5.5 percent
May: 5.1 percent
April: 4.6 percent
March: 4.8 percent
February: 4.9 percent
January: 5.2 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5 percent

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McALLEN

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

April: 4.7 percent
March: 5 percent
February: 4.9 percent
January: 5 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 4.4 percent
November: 4.5 percent
October: 4.4 percent
September: 4.7 percent
August: 5.4 percent
July: 5.4 percent
June: 5.4 percent
May: 5.1 percent
April: 5 percent
March: 5.4 percent
February: 5.8 percent
January: 5.8 percent

2017 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.1 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 5.4 percent
November: 5.1 percent
October: 5.3 percent
September: 5.8 percent
August: 6 percent
July: 6 percent
June: 5.8 percent
May: 4.9 percent
April: 5 percent
March: 5.1 percent
February: 5 percent
January: 5.2 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.4 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate 2015

December: 4.5 percent
November: 4.8 percent
October: 4.9 percent
September: 5.1 percent
August: 5.2 percent
July: 5.6 percent
June: 5.4 percent
May: 4.9 percent
April: 4.5 percent
March: 4.7 percent
February: 4.8 percent
January: 5.2 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5 percent

••••••

MISSION

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

April: 5.9 percent
March: 6.1 percent
February: 6 percent
January: 6.4 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 5.7 percent
November: 5.7 percent
October: 5.7 percent
September: 6.4 percent
August: 7.1 percent
July: 7.2 percent
June: 7.2 percent
May: 6.3 percent
April: 6.6 percent
March: 7.2 percent
February: 7.7 percent
January: 8.3 percent

2017 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 7.4 percent
November: 7.1 percent
October: 6.9 percent
September: 7.3 percent
August: 7.6 percent
July: 7.9 percent
June: 7.8 percent
May: 6.8 percent
April: 7.1 percent
March: 7.4 percent
February: 7.3 percent
January: 7.6 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 7.4 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015 

December: 6.1 percent
November: 6.1 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: 5.9 percent
January: 6.4 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.2 percent

••••••

HARLINGEN

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

April: 5.9 percent
March: 6.1 percent
February: 6.2 percent
January: 6 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 5.4 percent
November: 5.9 percent
October: 5.5 percent
September: 5.9 percent
August: 6.7 percent
July: 6.7 percent
June: 6.6 percent
May: 6.2 percent
April: 6.3 percent
March: 6.8 percent
February: 7.1 percent
January: 7 percent

2017 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.4 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 6.2 percent
November: 6.1 percent
October: 6.4 percent
September: 6.5 percent
August: 6.6 percent
July 2016: 6.3 percent
June 2016: 6.3 percent
May 2016: 5.7 percent
April 2016: 5.7 percent
March 2016: 5.8 percent
February 2016: 5.8 percent
January 2016: 5.7 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.1 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 5.3 percent
November: 5.6 percent
October: 5.7 percent
September: 5.9 percent
August: 6.2 percent
July: 6.4 percent
June: 6.4 percent
May: 6 percent
April: 5.5 percent
March: 5.7 percent
February: 5.9 percent
January: 6.5 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.9 percent

••••••

BROWNSVILLE

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

April: 6.5 percent
March: 6.7 percent
February: 6.9 percent
January: 7.1 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 6.1 percent
November: 6 percent
October: 5.8 percent
September: 6.6 percent
August: 7.5 percent
July: 7.6 percent
June: 7.9 percent
May: 6.8 percent
April: 7.2 percent
March: 7.4 percent
February: 8.2 percent
January: 8.8 percent

2017 Annual Unemployment Rate: 7.2 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 8.1 percent
November: 7.7 percent
October: 7.6 percent
September 2016: 8.2 percent
August 2016: 8.4 percent
July 2016: 8.5 percent
June: 8.5 percent
May: 7.1 percent
April: 7.1 percent
March: 7.3 percent
February: 7.2 percent
January 2016: 7.4 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 7.8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 6.9 percent
November: 6.8 percent
October: 6.5 percent
September: 6.6 percent
August: 7 percent
July: 7.2 percent
June: 7.2 percent
May: 6.8 percent
April: 6.6 percent
March: 7.2 percent
February: 7.3 percent
January: 8 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: percent

••••••

PHARR

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

April: 7.3 percent
March: 7.5 percent
February: 7.6 percent
January: 8.3 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 7.1 percent
November: 6.9 percent
October: 6.4 percent
September: 7.6 percent
August: 8.9 percent
July: 8.7 percent
June: 8.9 percent
May: 7.6 percent
April: 7.8 percent
March: 8.5 percent
February: 8.8 percent
January: 9.8 percent

2017 Annual Unemployment Rate: 8.1 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December 2016: 8.9 percent
November 2016: 7.9 percent
October 2016: 7.2 percent
September: 8.2 percent
August 2016: 8.7 percent
July 2016: 9 percent
June 2016: 9.1 percent
May 2016: 7.5 percent
April 2016: 7.8 percent
March 2016: 8.1 percent
February 2o16: 8.1 percent
January 2016: 8.8 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 8.3 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 7.2 percent
November: 7 percent
October: 6.4 percent
September: 6.6 percent
August: 7.3 percent
July: 7.6 percent
June: 7.4 percent
May: 6.5 percent
April: 6.2 percent
March: 6.5 percent
February: 6.8 percent
January: 7.6 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.9 percent

••••••

WESLACO

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

April: 7.4 percent
March: 7.2 percent
February: 7.4 percent
January: 8.6 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 8 percent
November: 7.2 percent
October: 6 percent
September: 7.3 percent
August: 9 percent
July: 9.2 percent
June: 8.8 percent
May: 7.2 percent
April: 7.1 percent
March: 7.5 percent
February: 8.2 percent
January: 9.7 percent

2017 Annual Unemployment Rate: 8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December 2016: 9.5 percent
November 2016: 8.1 percent
October 2016: 6.7 percent
September 2016: 8.3 percent
August 2016: 8.8 percent
July 2016: 9.3 percent
June 2016: 8.8 percent
May 2016: 6.8 percent
April 2016: 6.9 percent
March: 7.7 percent
February 2016: 7.5 percent
January 2016: 8.3 percent.

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 8.1 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate 2015 

December: 6.8 percent
November: 6.5 percent
October: 5.8 percent
September: 6.6 percent
August: 6.7 percent
July: 6.6 percent
June: 6.3 percent
May: 6 percent
April: 5.6 percent
March: 6 percent
February: 6.5 percent
January: 7.2 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.4 percent

••••••

ADDITIONAL REGIONAL ECONOMIC STATISTICS

Also according to the Texas Workforce Commission, the four counties in the Rio Grande Valley have recorded the following monthly unemployment rates in 2018, 2017,  2016, and 2015:

HIDALGO COUNTY

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

April: 6.5 percent
March: 6.9 percent
February: 7.1 percent
January: 7.6 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 6.6 percent
November: 6.3 percent
October: 5.9 percent
September: 6.8 percent
August: 7.8 percent
July: 7.8 percent
June: 7.9 percent
May: 7 percent
April: 7.3 percent
March: 7.7 percent
February: 8.3 percent
January: 9 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Hidalgo County for 2o17 was 7.4 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 8.2 percent
November: 7.5 percent
October: 7.1 percent
September: 7.9 percent
August: 8.3 percent
July: 8.5 percent
June: 8.4 percent
May: 7.1 percent
April: 7.2 percent
March: 7.7 percent
February: 7.7 percent
January: 8.1 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Hidalgo County for 2o16 was 7.8 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 7.9 percent
November: 7.8 percent
October: 7.4 percent
September: 7.7 percent
August: 8.2 percent
July: 8.5 percent
June: 8.4 percent
May: 7.7 percent
April: 7.3 percent
March: 7.7 percent
February: 7.9 percent
January: 8.5 percent

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

••••••

CAMERON COUNTY

April: 6.2 percent
March: 6.5 percent
February: 6.7 percent
January: 6.8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 5.9 percent
November: 5.9 percent
October: 5.8 percent
September: 6.4 percent
August: 7.2 percent
July: 7.2 percent
June: 7.5 percent
May: 6.6 percent
April: 6.8 percent
March: 7.2 percent
February: 7.8 percent
January: 8.2 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Cameron County for 2o17 was 6.9 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 7.3 percent
November: 7 percent
October: 7 percent
September: 7.4 percent
August: 7.6 percent
July: 7.7 percent
June: 7.8 percent
May: 6.6 percent
April: 6.7 percent
March: 7 percent
February: 6.9 percent
January: 7.1 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Cameron County for 2o16 was  7.2 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 6.8 percent
November: 6.9 percent
October: 6.7 percent
September: 6.7 percent
August: 7.1 percent
July: 7.4 percent
June: 7.5 percent
May: 7 percent
April: 6.8 percent
March: 7.2 percent
February: 7.4 percent
January: 8 percent

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

Also for April 2018, there were 326,466 individuals employed in Hidalgo County, while 157,744 persons were employed in Cameron County during the same month.

••••••

STARR COUNTY

April: 10.4 percent
March: 10.8 percent
February: 11.4 percent
January: 12.2 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 10.1 percent
November: 9.4 percent
October: 8.7 percent
September: 9.7 percent
August: 10.9 percent
July: 11.4 percent
June: 11.9 percent
May: 11 percent
April: 12.6 percent
March: 13.4 percent
February: 14.7 percent
January: 15.7 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate in Starr County for 2o17 was 11.7 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 13.8 percent
November: 12.7 percent
October: 12.1 percent
September: 13.3 percent
August: 13.7 percent
July: 14 percent
June: 13.9 percent
May: 12.1 percent
April: 13.1 percent
March: 14 percent
February: 13.5 percent
January: 13.8 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Starr County for 2o16 was 13.3 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 13.4 percent
November: 13.3 percent
October: 12.6 percent
September: 12.6 percent
August: 13.6 percent
July: 14.1 percent
June: 14.1 percent
May: 13.1 percent
April: 12.9 percent
March: 13.8 percent
February: 13.8 percent
January: 14.3 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate in Starr County for 2o15 was 13.5 percent.

••••••

WILLACY COUNTY

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

April: 11 percent
March: 11.1 percent
February: 11.4 percent
January: 11 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 9 percent
November: 8.8 percent
October: 8.9 percent
September: 9.6 percent
August: 11.1 percent
July: 12 percent
June: 11.7 percent
May: 11.3 percent
April: 11.7 percent
March: 12.1 percent
February: 12.5 percent
January: 12.9 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate in Willacy County for 2o17 was 11 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 11.1 percent
November: 11.1 percent
October: 11.3 percent
September: 12.3 percent
August: 12.8 percent
July: 13.7 percent
June: 13.5 percent
May: 12.1 percent
April: 12.1 percent
March: 12.4 percent
February: 12.2 percent
January: 12.4 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Willacy County for 2o16 was 12.2 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 12 percent
November: 12.5 percent
October: 12.9 percent
September: 12.4 percent
August: 13.7 percent
July: 14.3 percent
June: 14.6 percent
May: 13.6 percent
April: 13.4 percent
March: 13.2 percent
February: 11.6 percent
January: 12.1 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Willacy County for 2o15 was 13 percent.

For April 2018, there were 23,610 individuals employed in Starr County, while during the same month, 5,759 persons were employed in Willacy County.

MORE DETAILED FIGURES ON NUMBER OF JOBS, UNEMPLOYMENT RATES FOR EDINBURG

More detailed information about the labor market and unemployment rates in Edinburg follows:

Edinburg 2016 Employment, By Month

December: 37,915
November: 37,704
October: 37,404
September: 37,124
August: 36,908
July: 36,569
June: 37,299
May: 37,635
April: 37,607
March: 37,447
February: 37,169
January: 36,776

Edinburg 2015 Employment, By Month

December: 35,984
November: 35,904
October: 35,530
September: 35,293
August: 35,108
July: 35,027
June: 35,683
May: 36,111
April: 35,872
March: 35,741
February: 35,544
January: 35,436

Edinburg 2014 Employment, By Month

December: 35,666
November: 35,686
October: 35,535
September: 35,173
August: 34,763
July: 34,611
June: 35,301
May: 35,529
April: 35,486
March: 35,301
February: 35,232
January: 35,049

Edinburg 2013 Employment, By Month

December: 35,099
November: 34,838
October: 34,323
September: 34,248
August: 33,921
July: 33,668
June: 34,249
May: 34,444
April: 34,495
March: 34,137
February: 34,121
January: 34,018

Edinburg Monthly Unemployment Rates, 2014

December: 4.7 percent
November: 5.2 percent
October: 5.5 percent
September: 5.7 percent
August: 6.4 percent
July: 6.7 percent
June: 6.5 percent
May: 5.8 percent
April: 5.2 percent
March: 5.9 percent
February: 6.2 percent
January: 6.2 percent

Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.8 percent

Edinburg Monthly Unemployment Rates, 2013 

December: 6.1 percent
November: 6.4 percent
October: 7 percent
September: percent
August: 7.2 percent
July: 7.6 percent
June: 7.7 percent
May: 7 percent
April: 6.4 percent
March: 6.9 percent
February: 7.2 percent
January: 7.3 percent

Annual Unemployment Rate: 7.0 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

“STORIES FROM TEXAS”, A RADIO SHOW/PODCAST PRODUCED BY DR. WILLIAM F. STRONG AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS RIO GRANDE VALLEY, HEADED TO PRINT, AUDIO BOOK

Most Texans know “Stories from Texas” – and its signature tagline, “…and some of them are true” – as a radio program and podcast.

Now that radio program, produced by The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, is being adapted into a book, officials with The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg announced on Monday, May 7, 2018.

“I’m excited about it because it’s my first creative work. I’ve done textbooks, academic works before,” said Dr. William F. Strong, the UTRGV communications professor who created the radio program.

He called the show “a kind of an accident, really.”

“I had this idea that I would like to teach Texans and non-Texans alike with these great stories that a lot of people don’t know, the great literature of Texas that a lot of people aren’t aware of,” he said.

He reached out to the staff of the Rio Grande Valley’s NPR-affiliate KMBH-FM, now 88FM, with the idea. The first segments covered fun, pop culture stories, like the history of Whataburger and the 12 words Texans mispronounce most. The show’s popularity grew, and Strong produced more segments.

“Other NPR stations started picking them up, and that surprised me,” he said.

He gets feedback from listeners, like story suggestions, but he also gets one particular question about the stories featured – “Which ones are true?”

Strong chuckles at that.

“Some people take it perhaps a little too literally, but I guess the inside joke from my perspective is that they are 99 percent true. I work really hard to nail them down and get it nailed down to fact. If there are two interpretations of it, or two possibilities or two understandings, I’ll give you both of them and you choose.”

The UTRGV professor said the early stories he shared involved Texas folklore and tall tales.

“So I said, well, that’s kind of what we’re known for – stretching things – so I’ll just say that some of them are true,” he said.

Strong is excited about wrapping up the book, which he started working on three years ago. He also said he’s fortunate to know several photographers who are giving him photos of Texas landscapes and more to include in it.

“I’m doing the audiobook right now. That is quite an ordeal,” he said. “I’m even experienced in doing a lot of recording, and I assumed, ‘Oh, I’ll just go and read the thing.’”

He records in a special audio booth housed at UTRGV, with the help of Juan Ramírez and Ricardo Camargo, members of the video team in the UTRGV Marketing and Communications Department.

Strong learned he can only record segments for about 20 to 30 minutes before losing quality. “I found it’s difficult to do in long stretches,” he said.

When the book is complete, Strong will do a book tour.

“I’m excited about going on tour around Texas to do readings and talk about the book,” he said.

Interest already has built up for the book release, and it was featured recently in “Texas Country Reporter,” which airs across Texas and on a national cable channel.

While the book is scheduled for release in June, one can check the 88FM schedule to hear the latest “Stories From Texas,” or listen to past episodes online.

(VIDEO by María Elena Hernández:)

ABOUT UTRGV

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas.

This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island.

UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.

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María Elena Hernández 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

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