Edinburg posted a 7.5 percent unemployment rate in January 2010, an increase from the previous month of 6.8 percent, but still the best among the Valley’s major cities, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

For all of 2009, the city’s unemployment rate wound up at 6.9 percent, which was the highest annual level reported for the city since 2005, the state agency reported.

Edinburg’s annual unemployment rate for 2009 was also the best showing among all Valley cities, but the worst performance for the three-time All-America City since 2005.

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

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.

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

The jump in the city’s unemployment rate in January 2010 came after five consecutive monthly showings last fall which represented slow, but ongoing, improvements since July 2009, when the city’s rate hit 7.8 percent — the worst showing in five years.

The latest figures showed the city’s economy struggled in January after stabilizing last December and November.

A reported 2,465 Edinburg residents who were willing and able to work in January 2010 had no luck finding a job, according to the state agency.

The year before, in January 2009, the city’s unemployment rate stood at 6.4 percent, and there were 2,019 residents jobless but looking for work, the Texas Workforce Commission reported.

That data for Edinburg and all other cities only goes 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.

The higher figures come a little more 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.

State, national levels worse than Edinburg’s

For January 2010, Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 8.2 percent, unchanged from a revised 8.2 percent in December 2009, and continued to trend well below the U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 9.7 percent.

Both the January 2010 and 2009 annual levels were released on during the first week of March, after the March 2 Democratic Party and Republican Party primary elections.

Visit edinburgreview. com for a longer version of this story.

The unemployment rates in January 2010 among the Valley’s other major cities also saw negative figures.

Eight of the Valley’s major cities, including Edinburg, saw increases in their unemployment figures for January 2010.

Only Mission stayed at the same level in January 2010 as it reported in December 2009: 9.6 percent.

McAllen — the economic leader in the Valley — registered an 8.1 percent unemployment rate in January 2010, compared with 7.4 percent in December 2009.

Brownsville, the most populated city in the Valley, saw its unemployment rate increase from 11.1 percent in December 2009 to 11.9 percent in January 2010.

In January 2010, all cities combined increased the unemployment rate in Hidalgo County to 12.3 percent, compared with 11.5 percent in December 2009.

Also in January 2010, all cities combined increase the unemployment rate in Cameron County to 11.6 percent, compared with 10.8 percent in December 2009.

Hidalgo County’s annual unemployment rate in 2009 — which represents the average of all cities in the county — was 10.6 percent, compared with 7.3 percent in 2008, 6.6 percent in 2007, 7.4 percent in 2006, and 7.9 percent in 2005.

Cameron County’s annual unemployment rate in 2009 - which represents the average of all cities in the county — was 9.9 percent, compared with 6.8 percent in 2008, six percent in 2007, 6.6 percent in 2006, and 7.6 percent in 2005.

Unemployment trends past seven months

A breakdown of the major cities in the Rio Grande Valley shows that they posted the following unemployment rates in January 2010, along with the figures posted from July through December 2009:

• Edinburg — 7.5 percent (6.8 percent in December, 6.8 percent in November, seven percent in October, 7.6 percent in September, 7.7 percent in August, and 7.8 percent in July);

• McAllen — 8.1 percent (7.4 percent in December, 7.1 percent in November, 7.4 percent in October, 7.5 percent in September, 7.3 percent in August, and 7.5 percent in July);

• Harlingen — 9.2 percent (8.6 percent in December, 8.4 percent in November, 8.7 percent in October, 9.1 percent in September, 8.8 percent in August, and 8.9 percent in July);

• Pharr — 10.1 percent, (9.4 percent in December, 9.1 percent in November, 9.3 percent in October, 9.5 percent in September, 9.4 percent in August, and 9.6 percent in July);

• Mission — 9.6 percent (9.6 percent in December, 9.4 percent in November, 9.6 percent in October, 9.7 percent in September, 9.7 percent in August, and 9.7 percent in July);

• San Benito — 10.3 percent (9.7 percent in December, 9.6 percent in November, 9.6 percent in October, 10.2 percent in September, 9.5 percent in August, and 10.1 percent in July);

• Weslaco —11.3 percent (10.8 percent in December, 10.6 percent in November, 10.6 percent in October, 11.3 percent in September, 10.7 percent in August, and 10.6 percent in July);

• Brownsville — 11.9 percent (11.1 percent in December, 10.9 percent in November, 10.8 percent in October, 11 percent in September, 10.7 percent in August, 10.8 percent in July); and

• San Juan — Thirteen percent (12.3 percent in December, 11.3 percent in November, 11.1 percent in October, 11.8 percent in September, 12 percent in August, and 11.9 percent in July).

2009 unemployment rates by Valley cities

Edinburg’s latest unemployment number compared favorably with the other major communities in deep South Texas, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

The 2009 unemployment rates are:

• Edinburg 6.9 percent

• McAllen 7.1 percent

• Harlingen 8.1 percent

• Pharr: 8.9 percent

• Mission 9.1 percent

• San Benito: 9.1 percent

• Weslaco 9.9 percent

• Brownsville 10.2 percent

• San Juan: 11 percent

Highlights of other key figures for Edinburg include:

Unemployment

rate, by month

• January 2010: 7.5 percent

• January 2009: 6.4 percent

• January 2008: 4.8 percent

• January 2007: 4.9 percent

• January 2006: 4.8 percent

• January 2005: 5.3 percent

Unemployment

rate, by year

• 2009: 6.9 percent

• 2008: 5.0 percent

• 2007: 4.8 percent

• 2006: 5.3 percent

• 2005: 4.9 percent

People looking for

work, by month

• January 2010: 2,465

• January 2009: 2,019

• January 2008: 1,457

• January 2007: 1,431

• January 2006: 1,353

• January 2005: 1,413

Average of number of people

looking for work, by year

• 2009: 2,213

• 2008: 1,520

• 2007: 1,417

• 2006: 1,502

• 2005: 1,324

Employed, by month

• January 2010: 30,410

• January 2009: 29,548

• January 2008: 29,048

• January 2007: 28,068

• January 2006: 26,910

• January 2005: 25,189

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 Texas. For more on this, and related stories and photographs, please log on to www.EdinburgPolitics.com