McAllen employment dips in June

McALLEN — After several months of a strong employment numbers, McAllen’s jobless rate, and that of surrounding cities, took a negative turn in June.

The city’s jobless rate rose 0.6 percent, bringing McAllen’s unemployment rate to 5.1 percent. Hidalgo County had a much larger spike — the county’s unemployment rate jumped 1 percent, bringing its current tally to 7.2 percent.

But local officials said they aren’t concerned.

“We are seeing a normal seasonal spike in area unemployment rates, reflecting the public-school system’s summer breaks and the temporary layoffs of support personnel, along with an influx of high school and college graduates into the workforce,” said Mike Willis from Workforce Solutions, the company that seeks to enhance the workforce.

Steve Ahlenius, president of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, was not concerned, either.

“It’s summer time, schools are out, part of the population is kind of in limbo,” Ahlenius said. “I think we’re in really good shape.”

McAllen City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez said he doesn’t put too much weight on the city’s unemployment number. There are so many people who live in other cities and work in McAllen, and vice versa.

“So it’s hard to tell what that number really means for us,” Rodriguez said.

Ahlenius said he’s confident given the age of the city’s population, particularly when compared to the 35 years old and up median age population in several states in the Midwest.

“We’ve got a young population, folks willing to learn new skills,” he said. “We’ve got the skills to compete in the 21st century.”

Texas posted its 24th straight month of employment growth, adding 27,200 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in June. For the year, Texas has added 359,500 jobs for an annual employment growth rate of 2.9 percent.

Private-sector employers added 26,400 positions over the month. Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.0 percent in June, down slightly from May 2018.

mferman@themonitor.com