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.

RGV entrepreneur and ‘The Jank’ creator unveils diabetic-friendly sauce

Dozens of local business owners on Thursday sunk their teeth into barbecue meals coated in The Goodness, the name of the new, diabetic- and ketogenic-friendly condiment from the creator of The Jank. If their expressions of satisfaction were not indicative enough of their approval for Lamar Jones’s new sauce, their clean plates did the trick. “The plates are getting empty pretty quick, so that’s a good sign,” said Jones, owner and “Jank Innovator” of The Jank Gourmet BBQ Sauce and Spice Blend. “That’s awesome.” Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Trump signs new US-Mexico-Canada trade deal

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a new North American Free Trade Agreement, an update to the two-decade old pact that transformed the Rio Grande Valley economy. Trump said renegotiating the North America Free Trade Agreement was “probably the No. 1 reason that I decided to lead this crazy life that I’m leading right now.” “Today, we’re finally ending the NAFTA nightmare,” Trump said in a ceremony on the South Lawn. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

KGBT-TV sold: Nexstar acquisition signals end of an era for local station

After about 67 years, the Rio Grande Valley’s CBS affiliate KGBT-TV is changing its name. Nexstar Media Group, owner of NBC affiliate KVEO-TV, acquired Sinclair Broadcast Group’s local CBS affiliate, along with its 25,000-square-foot Harlingen station as part of a lawsuit settlement. Now, Nexstar is broadcasting its new CBS affiliate as CBS 4 on KVEO-TV Channel 23.2, General Manager William Jorn said Tuesday. However, he said, viewers will continue to find the CBS affiliate on cable and satellite Channel 4. Read the full story at themonitor.com.