Thanks to soaring unemployment, job creation is in the national spotlight these days, and a report released last week by the Brookings Institute Metropolitan Policy Program paints a bizarre portrait of the lower Rio Grande Valley economy as a sort of labor laboratory that could inform the current national debate.
Out of 100 of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, McAllen ranked at the top of the heap in terms of the index of "predicted job growth," referring to the predicted capacity to recover to pre-recession unemployment levels. That's number one, second to none. But on the other index employed in the report, the McAllen metro area came in dead last. The city and its surrounding populations suffer an acute “education gap,” or an under-supply of educated adults.