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United Brownsville > Business > United Brownsville: Labor Market Report January 2016

United Brownsville: Labor Market Report January 2016

Brownsville-Harlingen MSA – Local Economy Composition


  • The three largest sectors of our economy continue to be:  Government, Healthcare, and Education
  • Together these three sectors employed near 70,000 individuals.
  • In 3rd quater 2015 these three sectors paid $582.3 million in wages.
  • Looking at the employment changes by sector, most of the job losses were in the Retail Trade and Government sectors. The devaluing of the peso relative to the dollar has been impacting retail sales and tourism here recently.


Annual Job Growth Rate by MSA – January 2015 (Cameron vs. State)




Unemployment Rates by County – January 2016


  • Cameron county (Brownsville-Harlingen MSA) ranks 24th among counties with the highest unemployment rate.


Cameron County – Industry Size


  • 16 class 9 firms  (over 1,000 employees) employ 26.3% of the workforce in Cameron County
  • While the majority of firms are class 1 (1-4 employees), they only employ 3.7% of local workforce.


Statewide Overview for January:

Texas saw a gain of 4,300 manufacturing jobs.
The energy sector shed another 1700 jobs.
The construction sector lost 4,100 jobs. This is not uncommon during the winter.
The service sector added a total of 32,900 new jobs, led by 11,500 in the healthcare sector.

Regional Recap: In our region the unemployment rates increased in every county, which is normal for the month of January:

Hidalgo County increased by .3%, to 8.1%
Cameron County increased by .2%, to 7.1%
Starr increased by .7%, to 14.3%
Willacy County increased by .5%, to 12.6%
Webb County increased by .3%, to 4.8%

Texas Workforce Commission Change in Skills Development Grants Policy

TWC also recently announced they were revising their policy on wages regarding Skills Development grants. The requirement going forward for businesses is that you be paying the “prevailing wage” in the area for your participating employees, rather than a minimum of $14.00/hr. This means our area community colleges can now provide more opportunities for our business partners to take advantage of this state funded program that provides high quality skills training to both current employees and new hires.

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