Edinburg posted a 7.7 percent unemployment rate in August 2009, the second worst showing in more than four and a half years, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, which released its latest report on the state’s economy on Friday, September 18.

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

Just a month earlier, Edinburg reported a 7.8 percent unemployment rate in July 2009, the highest level in recent history, and higher than in June 2009, which was then the worst showing for the three-time All-America City since January 2005.

The state’s unemployment rate for August 2009 reached at 22-year high, coming in at eight percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate for August 2009 was 9.7 percent.

The latest figures for Edinburg and all other cities only go back to 2005, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, because of substantial methodology changes between 2004 and 2005 in estimating city unemployment statistics, Texas city data is not available prior to 2005.

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 notes.

A reported 2,447 Edinburg residents who were willing and able to work in August 2009 had no luck finding a job, according to the state agency.

The August 2009 unemployment rate was one-tenth of a percent better than in July 2009.

The year before, in August 2008, the city’s unemployment rate stood at 5.5 percent, when there were 1,652 residents jobless but looking for work, according to the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

In July 2009, the unemployment rate in Edinburg was 7.8 percent.

In June 2009, the unemployment rate in Edinburg was 7.4 percent.

In May 2009, the unemployment rate in Edinburg was six percent.

The higher figures come less than two years after Edinburg has its best showing in the city’s history.

In November 2007, only 3.7 percent of Edinburg’s civilian labor force was unable to find work, according to the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

According to TWC:

• The unemployment rate is the number of persons unemployed, expressed as a percentage of the civilian labor force;

• The civilian labor force is that portion of the population age 16 and older employed or unemployed; and

• To be considered unemployed, a person has to be not working but willing and able to work and actively seeking work.

All major cities in the Valley saw very slight improvements in their unemployment rates for August 2009, with McAllen reporting the lowest figure — 7.3 percent — while four cities continuing to suffer with unemployment rates in double-digits.

The unemployment rate for all urban and rural areas in Hidalgo County reached 11.4 percent in August 2009, up from, down from 11.6 percent in July 2009, and also better than the June 2009 showing of 11.1 percent.

Cameron County had a better countywide average than Hidalgo County, but it was still in the double-digit realm, with all urban and rural areas in Cameron County averaging a 10.5 percent unemployment rate in August 2009, compared with a 10.7 percent unemployment rate for July 2009.

Brownsville, the largest city in the Rio Grande Valley, in August 2009 posted a 10.9 percent unemployment rate, up from 10.8 percent in July 2009.

A breakdown of the major cities in the Rio Grande Valley shows that they posted the following unemployment rates in August 2009:

• McAllen — 7.3 percent (7.5 percent in July 2009)

• Edinburg —7.7 (7.8 percent in July)

• Harlingen — 9 (8.8 percent in July)

• Pharr — 9.6 (9.4 percent in July)

• Mission — 9.7 (9.6 percent in July)

• San Benito — 10.2 (9.5 percent in July)

• Weslaco — 10.6 (10.7 percent in July)

• Brownsville — 10.9 (10.8 percent in July)

• San Juan — 12 (12 percent in July)

Highlights of key figures for Edinburg include:

Unemployment rate, by month

• August 2009: 7.7 percent

• August 2008: 5.5

• August 2007: 5.1

• August 2006: 5.9

• August 2005: 5.1

Unemployment rate, by year

• 2008: 5.0 percent

• 2007: 4.8

• 2006: 5.3

• 2005: 4.9

People looking for work, by month

• August 2009: 2,447

• August 2008: 1,652

• August 2007: 1,483

• August 2006: 1,660

• August 2005: 1,356

Average of number of people looking for work, by year

• August 2008: 1,520

• August 2007: 1,417

• August 2006: 1,502

• August 2005: 1,324

Employed, by month

• August 2009: 29,425

• August 2008: 28,611

• August 2007: 27,803

• August 2006: 26,331

• August 2005: 25,322

Average of number employed, by year

• 2008: 28,971

• 2007: 28,207

• 2006: 26,865

• 2005: 25,538

The Texas Workforce Commission maintains a detailed accounting of employment trends for Edinburg and all other cities in the state on its website, located at:

www.tracer2.com/cgi/dataanalysis/AreaSelection.asp?tableName=Labforce

Legislative Media reports on major legislation that affects South Texans. For more on this, and related stories and photographs, please log on to www.EdinburgPolitics.com