The growth of the Rio Grande valley, especially in metropolitan areas of Hidalgo County, is evident in the latest Texas Workforce Commission report.
The top two valley cities with the lowest unemployment during the month of march are McAllen and Edinburg with 5.9 and 6.0 percent respectively. Both below the 6.8 national average.
According to the McAllen chamber of commerce this is due to fostering a pro-business community.
“And that is something that draws attention of people. The strategic location, from Mexico down to the United States,” explains Luis Cantu, McAllen chamber of commerce vice-president
Proximity to Mexico is an important factor for business in Edinburg as well. City leaders link employment numbers to recent investment. They seek to tap in to the purchasing power of Mexican tourists.
“Our board is very proactive. We have an office in Monterrey. We also help small and large businesses, we do everything,” explains Leticia Reyes, Edinburg economic development corp. Director
But the fact that the valley is at a 6 percent or more of unemployment, that also means thousands are still out of a steady job.
That is the case with Jesus Torres who has spent the last 12 years, Monday through Sunday on a sidewalk on bicentennial street in McAllen picking up small informal contracts.
“I come to find work but there is none, it is very slow. Maybe because it hasn’t rained, who knows,” says Jesus Torres Martinez, unemployed
In a good week Torres could make up to 480 dollars as a plumber, but demand has dropped and it is inconsistent.
“If somebody needs additional training. Anyone can benefit from,” explains Victor De Leon, Workforce solutions spokesman.
Another tool that also helps put people to work are job fairs and Edinburg is having one on Thursday may 1st from 9am to 1pm at the memorial library with 30 companies expected to attend.