HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A recent report released by the U.S. Department of Labor shows the unemployment rate in the country has decreased. With 331,000 jobs created in the nation, Texas is the leader in that growth.  

“I feel like it’s the same, it’s stayed the same. I feel like people are still struggling to try to find jobs,” said Alexander Palacios.  

Palacios is a college student who has struggled for over two months to find a job in the restaurant industry. According to the Texas Workforce Commission over 30,000 jobs have been created within the Rio Grande Valley in the past 5 years.  

“We’ve actually outpaced the national growth by almost four percentage points. So we’re doing well,” said Pat Hobbs, the executive director for the Texas Workforce Commission. 

Although the number of unemployed residents remains high with 12,000 people looking for jobs in Cameron County alone, recent statistics provided by Hobbs show that number is decreasing substantially. 

“We’re pushing internships, externships, we’re pushing apprenticeship, as a way to build the workforce. We’re laying those options out there and hopefully, people will take advantage of it,” Hobbs said. 

Pedro Falcon is a semi-truck driver who recently moved to the Rio Grande Valley from out of state in search of better opportunities. 

“It’s not as I thought it would be,” said Falcon. 

Over the past two weeks, he has been here and has found nothing. He said the Texas Workforce Commission is his last hope.  

“I’m gonna give it another week, one more week. If I don’t get nothing, then I’ll decide which way I’ll be going, I’ll fly north,” Falcon said. 

College students like Alexander Palacios said the lack of experience in the food industry set him behind.   

“I guess there’s not a lot of availability within the jobs. People really look into the experience for them. Not to hire a newbie and deal with new people,” Palacios said. 

Hobbs said that will soon change, with new job opportunities in the RGV around the corner. 

“The outlook looks even better. We’ve got some new industries coming to the area. We are very hopeful,” said Hobbs. 

College student Alexander Palacios finally found a job a month ago with a local restaurant chain.