The average wage for a Rio Grande Valley worker doesn’t quite reach $650 a week — making the region among the lowest-earning in the United States.
The U.S. Department of Labor released data last week reporting the average Hidalgo County worker earned $624 every week. Cameron County workers earned $615 weekly.
Some businesses pay employees less because of the Valley’s low cost of living, said Alberto Davila, dean of the UTRGV College of Business and Entrepreneurship.
Improving educational opportunities in the Valley will increase wages, Davila said, adding that better educated workers command higher pay.
“If we have policies in place where we are educating our population and encouraging our population to stay here, that will lead, then, to a bigger incentive for businesses all over the world to want to settle here,” Davila said.
The Valley’s large number of retail and service industry jobs push down the average wage, said Laura Cavazos, a spokeswoman for Workforce Solutions.
Cavazos said focusing on so-called STEM jobs and education — science, technology, engineering and math — will provide better paying jobs.