Alamo's Labor Force
The initial impact of the peso devaluation in December 1994, and subsequent aftershocks, adversely affected some sectors in the Alamo and Rio Grande Valley areas, although other sectors continued to prosper. This diversity helped stabilized the area economy.
After posting a strong 5.1 percent growth in employment from 1993 to 1994, slowing retail activity dragged the area's employment growth rate down to 2.5 percent for 1994-95. Retail sales recovered during 1995-1996, posting a 5.5 percent advance. This rapid recovery from the peso devaluation is further shown by impressive employment gains in the construction, service and government sectors.
As a result of more intense competition from Mexican manufacturers, total manufacturing employment growth in the Rio Grande Valley area remains relatively slow by historical standards. Manufacturing employment declined by 400 jobs in 1996. Manufacturing employment was weakened when the Haggar Corporation shut down its sewing plant in Brownsville and two other plants in the Rio Grande Valley, choosing to expand operations overseas.
As it has in the recent past, the service sector continues to generate many new jobs in the Rio Grande Valley area. The addition of 3,500 jobs to the area's service sector from 1995 to 1996 accounted for 50 percent of the job growth for the region as a whole during this period.