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Brownsville and McAllen post largest employment numbers in the Valley for December 2018, while McAllen and Edinburg have lowest unemployment rates, announces Texas Workforce Commission

Featured: The new year brought with it two new members of the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court: County Judge Richard Cortéz of McAllen and Precinct 4 County Commissioner Ellie Torres of Edinburg. Among their most notable first actions are that Drainage District No. 1, which is composed of the judge and four county commissioners, now meet at 9:30 a.m. every Tuesday, followed by the Commissioners Court meeting, which will begin at 10 a.m., except on the fourth Tuesday of each month, when the Commissioners Court will meet at 2 p.m. The meeting schedule is available by logging on to https://www.hidalgocounty.us. From left: Precinct 1 County Commissioner David Fuentes of Weslaco; Precinct 2 County Commissioner Eduardo “Eddie” Cantú of Pharr; Cortéz; Precinct 3 County Commissioner Joe M. Flores of Mission; and Torres.

Photograph By Christian Möller

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Brownsville and McAllen post largest employment numbers in the Valley for December 2018, while McAllen and Edinburg have lowest unemployment rates, announces Texas Workforce Commission

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Brownsville and McAllen for December 2018 reported the largest number of people employed in their communities, with 71,384 and 64,102 individuals, respectively, holding jobs, while McAllen and Edinburg had the lowest unemployment rates during the same month – 4.5 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively –according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

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

In December 2018, there were 327,595 individuals employed in Hidalgo County, while 157,705 persons were employed in Cameron County during the same month.

Meanwhile, for the same month, there were 22,993 individuals employed in Starr County, while 5,659 persons were employed in Cameron County.

In addition, McAllen had the lowest unemployment rates during 2018, with nine of the 12 months coming in with a monthly unemployment rate under five percent. For eight months out of 2018, Edinburg posted a monthly unemployment rate of under five percent.

The number of jobs in cities and counties statewide 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.

The December 2018 unemployment rates for the Valley’s most populated cities follow:

McAllen: 4.5 percent
Edinburg: 4.6 percent
Harlingen: 5.2 percent
Mission: 5.9 percent
Brownsville: 5.9 percent
Weslaco: 7 percent
Pharr: 7.2 percent

The state’s unemployment rate in December 2018 was 3.6 percent, compared with 3.7 percent in December 2017.

The U.S. unemployment rate in December 2018 was 3.9 percent, compared with 4.1 percent the same month the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000).

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

Brownsville: 71,384
McAllen: 64,102
Edinburg: 39,387
Mission: 32,776
Pharr: 28,807
Harlingen: 23,503
Weslaco: 14,835

Also according to the Texas Workforce Commission, the major cities in the four-county Valley have recorded the following monthly unemployment rates during 2018 and 2017:

McALLEN

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

December: 4.5 percent
November: 4.1 percent
October: 4.1 percent
September: 4.5 percent
August: 4.9 percent
July: 4.9 percent
June: 5.1 percent
May: 4.5 percent
April: 4.8 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

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EDINBURG

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

December: 4.6 percent
November: 4.3 percent
October: 4.2 percent
September: 4.7 percent
August: 5 percent
July: 5.1 percent
June: 5.2 percent
May: 4.5 percent
April: 4.5 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

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HARLINGEN

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

December: 5.2 percent
November: 5 percent
October: 5.3 percent
September: 5.5 percent
August: 5.7 percent
July: 6.1 percent
June: 6.4 percent
May: 6 percent
April: 5.8 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

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MISSION

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

December: 5.9 percent
November: 5.2 percent
October: 5 percent
September: 5.7 percent
August: 6 percent
July: 6.5 percent
June: 6.6 percent
May: 5.6 percent
April: 6 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

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BROWNSVILLE

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

December: 5.9 percent
November: 5.4 percent
October: 5.1 percent
September: 5.6 percent
August: 6.3 percent
July: 6.6 percent
June: 7.1 percent
May: 6.1 percent
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

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WESLACO

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

December: 7 percent
November: 6.1 percent
October: 5.7 percent
September: 6.9 percent
August: 7.9 percent
July: 8.5 percent
June: 8.5 percent
May: 7 percent
April: 7.4 percent
March: 7.2 percent
February: 7.3 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

PHARR

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

December: 7.2 percent
November: 6.3 percent
October: 5.8 percent
September: 6.9 percent
August: 7.5 percent
July: 7.8 percent
June: 7.9 percent
May: 6.7 percent
April: 7.4 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

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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 and 2017:

HIDALGO COUNTY

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

December: 6.7 percent
November: 5.8 percent
October: 5.4 percent
September: 6.2 percent
August: 6.6 percent
July: 7 percent
June: 7.2 percent
May: 6.2 percent
April: 6.6 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.

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CAMERON COUNTY

December: 5.8 percent
November: 5.3 percent
October: 5.2 percent
September: 5.7 percent
August: 6.1 percent
July: 6.5 percent
June: 6.9 percent
May: 6 percent
April: 6.3 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.

Also for December 2018, there were 327,595 individuals employed in Hidalgo County, while 157,705 persons were employed in Cameron County during the same month.

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WILLACY COUNTY

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

December: 8.6 percent
November: 8.1 percent
October: 8.4 percent
September: 9.2 percent
August: 9.6 percent
July: 11.4 percent
June: 11.8 percent
May: 11 percent
April: 11.2 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.

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STARR COUNTY

December: 9.4 percent
November: 8.1 percent
October: 7.9 percent
September: 8.7 percent
August: 9.1 percent
July: 10.2 percent
June: 11 percent
May: 9.6 percent
April: 10.7 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.

Also for December 2018, there were 22,993 individuals employed in Starr County, while 5,659 persons were employed in Cameron County during the same month.

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

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN TEXAS REMAINS AT HISTORIC LOW FOR THIRD STRAIGHT MONTH

As 2018 concluded, the Texas economy added another month of positive employment growth, with 38,000 seasonally adjusted nonfarm positions added for the month of December. Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, and has remained at the same historic 43-year low since October 2018.

Annual employment growth for Texas was 3.2 percent in December, and marked 104 consecutive months of annual growth. Over the year, Texas has added 391,800 jobs as Total Nonfarm employment reached a new high of 12,744,100.

“Texas is the place to be for job growth and economic development as Texas employers in our state continue to create job opportunities for the highly skilled Texas workforce. Since last December, Texas employers added 391,800 jobs, and for the third consecutive month, unemployment in Texas is at record lows,” said TWC Chair Ruth R. Hughs. “With mining and logging jobs, which includes oil and gas employment, up 18 percent from the prior year, our employers and our workers are providing the energy that fuels the U.S. economy.”

Private sector annual employment growth was 3.7 percent in December and has held above 3.0 percent since April 2018. Ten out of 11 major industries expanded over the month as well as over the year.

Mining and Logging registered a series-high annual growth rate of 18.0 percent. Annually, this industry also led all other major industries in Texas since May 2017. Construction added 4,500 jobs over the month. It grew at 6.4 percent over the year, second fastest among major industries in Texas. Its annual growth has stayed positive since September 2011.

“With businesses hiring at a record clip, there’s never been a better time to plan a great Texas career,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julián Álvarez. “A great way to start a career in growing, well-paying fields in industries like construction or mining and logging is through Registered Apprenticeships, where employees can earn while they learn. Visit http://www.apprenticeships.gov or your local Texas Workforce Solutions office to learn more about these great opportunities.”

The Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) recorded December’s lowest unemployment rate among Texas MSAs with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 2.1percent, followed by the Amarillo MSA and Odessa MSA which tied for the second lowest with a rate of 2.6 percent. The Austin-Round Rock MSA recorded the third lowest rate of 2.7 percent.

“The December labor statistics show annual growth of 388,800 jobs in Texas’ private-sector industries, and 35,400 jobs added over the month. This speaks to the ongoing strength of our economy and the incredible opportunities it creates for job seekers and employers,” said TWC Commissioner Representing the Public Robert D. Thomas. “Through Texas Workforce Commission workforce training programs such as the Skills Development Fund and the Jobs and Education for Texans (JET), workers have the opportunity to realize the full potential that our state has to offer.”

Audio downloads with comments from Commissioner Alvarez on the latest labor market data are available on the TWC webpage for recent press releases. 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.

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Lisa Givens contributed to this article. For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories which affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).

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