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April 2020 Labor Market Report – Workforce Solutions Lower Rio

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Texas Border Business

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The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) released the April 2020 Labor Market and Employment reports. The seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate increased by 10.3% to 14.7%. Texas seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 7.7% to 12.8%.

Statewide Overview for April: Texas had a loss of -1,298,900 nonagricultural jobs in April and has a loss of -1,110,600 jobs in the past year (seasonally adjusted). This represents an annual employment decrease rate of -8.7%.

Goods-Producing employment decreased by -131,100 jobs in April and a total of -127,100 jobs were lost in the past twelve months. The construction sector had the most job losses for this month with -62,500 jobs. The Goods-Producing sector has seen a decrease of -6.6% over the past twelve months. 

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The Service-Providing sector lost in total -1,167,800 jobs in April and has a total loss of -983,500 jobs in the past year. This sector is decreasing at a -9.1% annual rate. The Leisure & Hospitality sector had the most job losses in April with an estimated -530,200 employees laid off and an annual decreasing rate of 39.3%. The trade, transportation, and utilities sector follows with a loss of -173,900 jobs and a -5.4% annual decreasing rate. 

Regional Unemployment Recap: The April unemployment rates show increases at all levels. Starr and Hidalgo counties reflect the most significant increases of 24.3% and 18.2% respectively. 


  • Hidalgo County increased by 9.7% to 18.2% 
  • Cameron County increased by 9.7% to 17.1% 
  • Starr County increased by 8.3%, to 24.3%  
  • Willacy County increased by 7.1% to 17.4% 
  • Webb County increased by 10.4% to 13.6%


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  • Edinburg had the lowest unemployment rate in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) with an increase of 8.2% and a rate of 14.1%
  • McAllen had the second-lowest unemployment rate with an increase of 10.1% and a rate of 15.9%
  • Harlingen was third with an increase of 10.1% and a rate of 16.6%
  • Laredo had the lowest rate in the border region with an increase of 8.7% and a rate of 16.6%

Hidalgo, Cameron, and Webb County MSA Regional Employment Change Estimates for April 2020:

Employment SectorsMcAllen MSABrownsville MSALaredo MSATotal Region
Healthcare & Private Education-1,300           -1,100      -500-2,900
Leisure & Hospitality-11,800-8,300-9,100-29,200
Government (Public Ed, Law Enforcement)-900-800-200-1,900
Professional & Business Services-1,500-2,200-2,400-6,100
Mining & Construction-2,400-400-100-2,900
Trade, Transportation & Utilities-4,900-2,500-2,600-10,000
Manufacturing-600-800 -1,400
Information-100 -100-200
Financial Activities-100-200-100-400
Other Services-1,200-700-500-2,400
Total All Non-Agriculture Sectors:-24,800-17,000-15,600-57,400

As much of the global economy shut-down, the April 2020 Labor Market Report reflects remarkable job loss across all sectors. The primary sector with the largest job loss in the border region in April is the Leisure & Hospitality, with an estimated -29,200 lost jobs followed by Trade, Transportation & Utilities with -10,000 lost jobs. The Information sector lost the least amount of jobs at -200 jobs in the border region. The Financial Activities sector follows with a loss of -400 jobs. The April total non-agricultural job loss for our border region is an estimated -57,400 jobs which represents the COVID-19 pandemic impact during the month. 

Healthcare Industry: The expansion of hospitals and healthcare facilities continues across the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) as the Healthcare Industry seeks to meet the demands of a growing population.  Despite the shelter-in-place orders and government restrictions on elective procedures and temporary furloughs, the need for quality healthcare is the driving force for continued job growth and creating a talent pipeline of middle skilled Healthcare professionals. 

COVID-19 Special Initiative Skills Development Fund Grants

The Texas Workforce Commission has shifted efforts in order to assist businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic and in doing so has allocated $10 Million in Skills Development Fund Training Grants for Texas Businesses to Train their workforce. Texas Businesses impacted by COVID-19 may obtain training for existing employees and new hires.  The Lower Rio Grande Workforce Board d.b.a. Workforce Solutions (WFS) was awarded $250,000 to assist businesses with training needs so they may be equipped to adhere to new government protocols as they work towards re-opening. The WFS Business Relations Team is connecting with community partners and local businesses to identify Industry partners and training needs.  

Women’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp 

WFS in collaboration with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Small Business Development Center (SBDC), will be hosting a series of virtual Women Entrepreneurship Bootcamp’s.  The first of three bootcamps is scheduled for June 25, 2020. The purpose of the bootcamps are to address the challenges small businesses face and provide resources and strategies they can implement to survive and thrive in this changing economy.

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