Unemployment numbers continue to rise

Cameron County saw its unemployment rate jump nearly 2 percent in March, according to the latest employment statistics from the Texas Workforce Commission.

TWC’s March 2020 Labor Market and Employment report detailed rising joblessness rates across the Rio Grande Valley, right on trend with a national increase of 0.9 percent to a 4.5 percent unemployment rate in March.

The State of Texas saw its unemployment rate increase by 2.2 percent, to a 4.7 percent total, according to the report. In the Rio Grande Valley, McAllen had the lowest unemployment rate increase, with a 1.3 percent increase, raising the county’s total to 5.7 percent, according to TWC’s estimate.

Edinburg saw the second-lowest increase of 1.4 percent to a 5.9 percent unemployment rate. Harlingen was third, with a 1.6 percent increase to a 6.5 percent total, and Laredo had the lowest rate in the region, with 5.1 percent — just a 1.2 percent increase.

Job loss was significant across all five counties. Hidalgo’s unemployment rate increased by nearly 2 percent to a 8.5 percent total, while Cameron County’s total rate was 7.4 percent — a 1.6 percent rise.

Starr County reported a significant rise in unemployment with the rate rising 3.1 percent to a staggering 16 percent total. In Willacy County, joblessness increased by 2.1 percent to a total rate of 10.3 percent. Webb County saw a 1.3 percent increase, with a final rate of 5.3 percent.

TWC documented 1,100 jobs lost in the healthcare and private education sector in McAllen and its surrounding areas — the largest job loss reported in any non-agricultural industry listed in the report. No jobs were lost in that sector in the Brownsville and Laredo regions, according to the data.

The Brownsville area saw the largest loss in leisure and hospitality jobs, with TWC reporting a 400-position decrease in March. Both Brownsville and McAllen saw a significant number of jobs lost in trade, transportation, and utilities — a total of 400 in the McAllen area and 200 in Brownsville.

Laredo and its surrounding communities saw the fewest jobs lost total. The area reported a total reduction of 300 jobs in leisure and hospitality, professional businesses and services, and mining and construction — though the region also gained 100 jobs in government (public education, law enforcement).

In the McAllen and Brownsville regions, the sector gained 500 and 200 jobs, respectively.

esheridan@brownsvilleherald.com