H-E-B to limit sale of toilet paper, sanitizers, briskets

H-E-B has been forced once again to place a limit on certain products due to customers panic buying toilet paper, food items and over-the-counter...

Texans struggle to find work in the Valley, where unemployment has nearly tripled

Sandra Santos has been doing everything she can to find a job since she was laid off in mid-March from working in the billing and collections department of an ambulance service in the Rio Grande Valley. The 47-year-old Edinburg native filed for unemployment shortly afterward and recently received her second check in the mail — weeks after she and her boyfriend were evicted from their apartment. Her boyfriend, Joey Quintanilla, is a self-employed landscaper who is also jobless. His regular salary — which fell short of their monthly $500 rent — amounted to “just enough to buy groceries,” according to Santos. Read the full story at themonitor.com

April sales figures show some sectors fared better than others

Retail figures from April show the pain businesses suffered from the COVID-19 shutdowns was not spread evenly. Instead, it varied depending on the type of business and whether or not it had an online platform for sales. The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, analyzed U.S. Census Bureau numbers and found they were poor, dropping twice as much in April as they did in March. Overall retail sales for April were down 16.4%, the Census Bureau said. That follows a record-setting 8.3% month-over-month drop in March. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Unemployment numbers continue to rise

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. 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. Read the full report at themonitor.com.

State’s April sales tax numbers down 9%

Texas sales tax revenues drooped downward in April, as the shutdown of retail and service industry outlets and shelter-at-home orders due to coronavirus began to bite. Sales tax revenue for April was down 9.3% from a year ago, the steepest one-month decline since the Great Recession era in January 2010. The numbers are expected to get worse in the next two months, since these revenue figures are primarily from sales made in March and remitted to the Texas Comptroller’s Office in April. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

CARES Act aims $20 million at Valley International Airport

HARLINGEN — Valley International Airport anticipates a $20 million financial boost from Washington to help it weather travel turbulence and the subsequent financial downturn...

Truckers warn supply chain in jeopardy if they don’t get better COVID-19 protection

America’s supply chain could be in jeopardy if the government doesn’t act swiftly to help protect the country’s truckers, some industry officials and drivers...

Local cities preparing for sharp sales tax declines

Rio Grande Valley municipalities have begun to assess how COVID-19 will impact city finances as the coronavirus pandemic continues to strangle the economy across the nation. While local leaders in Hidalgo County anticipate a steep decline in sales tax revenues, on the whole, they hope it will not be catastrophic. That assessment comes with a catch: the longer the crisis lasts, the harder Valley cities will be hit by its economic repercussions. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Lacks Furniture Galleria celebrates updates, new collaboration

Lacks Furniture Galleria on Expressway 83 in McAllen commemorated updates to the building’s entryway and a new collaboration between itself and home accent manufacturer Harp & Finial with a ribbon cutting and breakfast Thursday morning. Lacks Chief Marketing Officer Seth Aaronson, whose great-grandfather founded the business in the 1930s, spoke at the event. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Dallas Fed: So. Texas still reaping benefits of retail sales

In forecasting a steady economic outlook for Texas in 2020, Keith Phillips of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas on Friday rehashed what happened over the last year. Phillips hit on tariffs, energy, construction, high employment numbers. And retail. “Retail was flat because of the crisis at the border,” said Phillips, a senior economist at the bank, which held its 2020 Texas economic outlook. “We had a lot less traffic than normal because of the congestion at the border.” Read the full story at themonitor.com.