Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New report indicates McAllen’s current employment surpassed 5-year peak

September 22, 2010

Garner Economics has released a recent report comparing the 372 metro areas in the United States. Based on employment total from the past five years, the report indicated that McAllen is one of only 16 metros that has surpassed July peak employment totals from the past five years. McAllen increased its job totals by 2-percent, according to the analysis.

Texas was the only state to have more than one metro that surpassed previous employment totals.

To view the full report, click here.

El Paso-based venture capital firm makes first investment in Rio Grande Valley

By Steve Taylor
Rio Grande Guardian

EDINBURG, Sept. 18 - 

Cottonwood Technology Fund, a venture capital firm based in El Paso, has made its first investment in the Rio Grande Valley, pumping an undisclosed sum of money into FibeRio Technology Corporation.
Beto Pallares, Cottonwood’s managing partner, said his firm’s aim is to cultivate the entrepreneurial community along the border region. As such, he said, Cottonwood, which also has offices in Los Alamos and Santa Fe, hopes to make other seed-stage investments in Valley-based technology companies.

“I live on the border. I understand the dynamics that are faced here. I understand the challenges and the preconceived notions but I also understand where the value is. We do not object to hopping on a plane and coming down here. I make frequent visits for that reason,” Pallares said.
Pallares said it was not a difficult decision to partner with FibeRio. At a news conference at the University of Texas-Pan American last Wednesday, Pallares said FibeRio is comprised of good people with a good idea. He said those were two of the three components needed for success. The third, he said, is money.

FibeRio is UTPA’s first regional technology start-up company. It was formed after Karen Lozano and Kamalaksha Sarkar, faculty members of UTPA’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, co-invented an advanced nanofiber manufacturing process that could, experts believe, revolutionize the nanofiber manufacturing industry.

Lozano, chief technology officer for FibeRio, explained what a nanofiber is. “A nanofiber is like a strand of hair, only a strand of hair has 80 microns and a nanofiber is 80,000 times thinner. It is microscopic; you cannot see it with your own eye. A nanofiber is so small that most of the atoms are on the surface. That makes them very active. They have properties you do not find in other systems,” Lozano said.
Lozano said nanofibers are used in ...

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McAllen- Edinburg-Mission, TX Listed in America’s 20 Strongest Cities: 5 Key Factors They Have in Common

September 20, 2010 in EconomyIn The Americas

The economic crisis in the US hit most of the country pretty darn hard,.. have you heard? But not all places were hit to the same degree. While most of my home state — Florida — was slammed, some other places did alright.
The Metropolitan Policy Program (MPP) at the Brookings Institution regularly lists the 20 strongest major metro areas – one a quarter. It looks at fundamental economic issues such as economic activity, housing and employment.
Derek Thompson of the Atlantic did  good job recently of picking out some key factors the top 5 cities on the MPP’s most recent list had in common.
Before sharing his thoughts on that, though, here are the 20 strongest metro areas, according to the MPP:
  • Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY
  • Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC
  • Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX
  • Baton Rouge, LA
  • Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
  • El Paso, TX
  • Jackson, MS
  • Kansas City, MO-KS
  • Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR
  • Madison, WI
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA
  • Rochester, NY
  • San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
Now, what did Thompson find they have in common? In his own words:
1. Eds and Meds
When the private sector shrinks and the federal government grows, handmaidens of federal spending, like education and health care, stay alive. Many of the cities on this list specialize in health care (McAllen) education (Austin) or both (Albany, Augusta, San Antonio). The eds and meds have outpaced the private sector in growth through the downturn, into the recovery, and they will continue to cast a long shadow over job creation in the next decade. Six of the top eight jobs with the fastest projected growth are in the health care or medical science industries. Three of the top five jobs with the largest projected growth are in health care.
2. Also: Enlisteds
The rock of federal spending has helped military towns stay steady, too. Look at DC, Virginia Beach, San Antonio, and Augusta. Pentagons and forts, galore. Many of the cities on this list have been buoyed by consistent government spending on military bases and tech contracts.
3. Capitals
In the good times, the strongest cities were close to capital that came from rising home prices and exotic financial products. In the iffy times, the strongest cities are close to capitals, to City Halls, the most dependable arteries to government spending. Count the capitals on Brookings list: Albany, Austin, Baton Rouge, Madison, Little Rock, Jackson, and Oklahoma City.
4. Texas (Or at Least Its Time Zone)
As I’ve written, Texas and the Great Plains have run away with the recovery for a few reasons: (1) They avoided the housing bubble; (2) They’re led by local-based businesses like health and insurance that were insulated from the global meltdown; (3) High energy prices both delayed and cushioned the recession; and finally
5. Cheap labor
Eighteen of Brookings’ 20 “strongest cities” (all except Washington and VA Beach) have average or below average cost-of-living, according to a new Wall Street Journal story. At a time when Washington can’t seem to ...
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