Edinburg posted a 7.6 percent unemployment rate in September 2009, a slight improvement over the August 2009 posting of 7.7 percent and the 7.8 percent unemployment rate reported in July 2009, which was the worst showing in more than four and a half years.

The latest figure was released on Friday, October 16, by the Texas Workforce Commission.

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

Six of the Valley’s largest cities saw slight increases in their unemployment rates.

McAllen — the economic leader in the Valley — registered a 7.5 percent unemployment rate in September, compared with 7.3 percent in August.

Brownsville, the most populated city in the Valley, reported an 11 percent unemployment rate in September, up from 10.7 percent in August.

At a county-wide level, the employment picture was still above double-digit rates.

All cities in Hidalgo County averaged an 11.6 percent unemployment rate in September, compared with 11.4 percent in August and 11.5 percent in July.

All cities in Cameron County average a 10.8 percent unemployment rate in September, compared with 10.5 percent in August, and 10.6 percent in July.

Meanwhile, the state’s unemployment rate for September 2009 reached 8.2 percent — higher than the eight percent level set in August 2009, which was a 22-year high.

The U.S. unemployment rate for September 2009 was 9.8 percent, a level which was a 26-year high.

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 2,411 Edinburg residents who were willing and able to work in September 2009 had no luck finding a job, according to the state agency.

The year before, in September 2008, the city’s unemployment rate stood at 5.3 percent, when there were 1,614 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 September 2007, the unemployment rate in Edinburg was five percent.

In September 2006, the unemployment rate in Edinburg was 5.5 percent.

In September 2005, the unemployment rate in Edinburg was 4.7 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 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.

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

• McAllen — 7.5 percent (7.3 percent in August, 7.5 percent in July);

• Edinburg —7.6 percent (7.7 percent in August, 7.8 percent in July);

• Harlingen — 9.1 percent (8.8 percent in August, 8.9 percent in July);

• Pharr — 9.5 percent (9.4 percent in August, 9.6 percent in July);

• Mission — 9.7 percent (9.7 percent in August, 9.7 percent in July);

• San Benito — 10.2 percent (9.5 percent in August, 10.1 percent in July);

• Weslaco — 11.3 percent (10.7 percent in August, 10.6 percent in July);

• Brownsville — 11 percent (10.7 percent in August, 10.8 percent in July); and

• San Juan — 11.8 percent (12 percent in August, 11.9 percent in July).

Highlights of key figures for Edinburg include:

Unemployment

rate, by month

• September 2009: 7.6 percent

• September 2008: 5.3 percent

• September 2007: 5 percent

• September 2006: 5.5 percent

• September 2005: 4.7 percent

Unemployment

rate, by year

• 2008: 5.0 percent

• 2007: 4.8

• 2006: 5.3

• 2005: 4.9

People looking

for work, by month

• September 2009: 2,411

• September 2008: 1,614

• September 2007: 1,473

• September 2006: 1,540

• September 2005: 1,265

Average of number of people

looking for work, by year

• 2008: 1,520

• 2007: 1,417

• 2006: 1,502

• 2005: 1,324

Employed,

by month

• September 2009: 29,282

• September 2008: 28,859

• September 2007: 28,154

• September 2006: 26,647

• September 2005: 25,489

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

Also according to the Texas Workforce Commission:

The Texas seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose slightly to 8.2 percent in September, up from 8.0 percent a month ago, and continued to trend well below the U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 9.8 percent.

The Texas Civilian Labor Force continued to increase remaining above the mark of 12 million workers for the third consecutive month. Total nonagricultural employment in Texas fell by 44,700 positions in September.

“The Texas job market continued to tighten as most industries experienced job losses in September,” said Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chairman Tom Pauken. “While unemployment in Texas remains well below the national rate of 9.8 percent, this serious national recession continues to affect us adversely in Texas.”

Other Services, which include automotive, electronic, and commercial repair and maintenance, had the largest over-the-month gain adding 8,800 jobs. A total of 9,400 jobs have been added to the payrolls of Other Services since September 2008. Mining and Logging posted a gain for the first time this year, adding 2,100 jobs. Education and Health Services employment growth remained positive in September with the addition of 2,700 jobs. Information employment grew by 800 jobs last month.

“The Texas labor force is growing as more people enter the job market, but job seekers are hampered by fewer jobs,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “TWC and our workforce boards located around the state remain committed to helping out-of-work Texans acquire skills and find jobs.”

The largest job losses occurred in the Leisure and Hospitality industry which was down 16,900 positions, followed by Professional and Business Services, down 16,500 jobs. Trade, Transportation and Utilities lost 13,000 positions in September.

“Job gains in Mining and Logging, Education and Health Services, and Other Services were offset by losses in most industries in September,” said TWC Commissioner Representing the Public Andrés Alcantar. “To help connect workers with available jobs, staff at more than 240 workforce centers across the state is available to provide job-search assistance and other services.”

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