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U.S.- Mexico Border Towns: Growing Economies, Walls and Tariffs

Updated on July 13, 2019
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is a successful Employment & Training pro, setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed in gainful employment.


Southern Borderplexes Like El Paso are Successful Cities

U.S.-Mexico border towns or "Borderplex" cities have been experiencing an influx of new successful business trade from from domestic and foreign investors since AD 2000.

Properous new business installations provided by the aerospace industry, notably SpaceX at Brownsville are increasing in numbers all along the Texas border. McAllen was the first borderplex city names by the federal government decades ago, but El Paso is growing and among dozens of such cities that enjoy consistent, lucrative trade back and forth with Mexican market area.

Despite propaganda about past violence in Juarez, which has significantly decreased, the city is safe to visit and receives many Texans every week.

She (Jessica Garcia) and her husband signed their son up not only for the Lil’ Yankees T-ball team in El Paso, where they live, but for the Marlins in Juárez because they considered that team more advanced.

— Lomi Kriel, Houston Chronicle; 4/29/2019

Map of El Paso/Juarez

El Paso, a Borderplex City:
El Paso, TX, USA

get directions

The El Paso - Cuidad Juarez borderplex combined metropolitan area as a trade market.

El Paso: Top Growing City After the Great Recession

Thriving El Paso is the fourth largest city in that state, and sixth largest community in Texas for employers that post the most openings since AD 2010. The state was not as negatively affected by the recession as were other places in America, but El Paso showed a more marked stability and economic growth.

By AD 2013, the city became the 11th most successful place for growth of population and jobs during the national economic recovery. Trade with Mexico helped strengthen that fact.

By AD 2018, the city's trade back and forth with Mexico had increased, even above that of its successful Mexican counterpart city, Cuidad Juarez.

Unemployment Rate Decreases and Jobs Increase

In December 1990, El Paso suffered a 12.5% unemployment rate, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. However, from 1991 - 2018, that rate decreased.

According the the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, El Paso gained 1,000 jobs in February 2009, even though unemployment was 8.2%. It gained another 1,100 jobs in March 2009. By February 2014, open jobs had increased to 13,000 listings.

In March 2017, the city enjoyed 14,000 job listings and a 5.2% unemployment rate.

By February 2018, the unemployment rate had reduced further to 4.4%, with approximately 6,000 job openings.

By May 2019, over 7,000 open jobs were advertised under a 3.3% unemployment rate. El Paso business is growing the the city needs more workers!

Threats to Business and American Economy: Walls and Tariffs

President Donald Trump's (2017 - 2021) strong demands to build large new sections of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico dangerously threatened the economics of Borderplex towns that benefited from weekly trade with Mexican nationals and lower healthcare costs in our Southern neighbor.

On May 31, 2019 the President demanded a new 5% tariff (increasing 5% monthly to 25% in October 2019) on all Mexican goods as retaliation for federal judges blocking wall construction and a state governor stopping private wall construction.

The video of Border Patrol agent work below shows that the White House's claims of multiple thousands of criminals passing across the Rio Grande to pillage America seems to be overstated. Walls and tariffs will interrupt the usual business flow at the border.

Mexico's president said on Friday he would respond with "great prudence" to threats by his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump to impose tariffs on Mexican goods entering the United States, and called on Mexicans to unite to face the challenge.

— Dave Graham, Reuters; 5/31/2019

The Dow declined about 200 points, or 0.9%, on Friday following Trump's threat to impose tariffs on Mexico...Auto makers, which rely on Mexico as a vital part of their supply chain, fell sharply. Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) lost 5%, while General Motors (GM) declined 4% and Ford (F) lost 3%. Parts suppliers including Lear (LEA) and Delphi Technologies (DLPH) also stumbled.

— Matt Egan, CNN Business; 5/31/2019

Special Agent Jobs in Government Service

The USACIDC supports the army through the deployment during peace and war of highly trained Special Agents and support staff and these jobs are increasing. The operation of a certified forensic laboratory, a protective services unit, many computer crimes specialists, polygraph services, and other services are in high demand.

After AD 2016, the US presidential administration determined the need for more of all of these services in ongoing and potential conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, and other nations as well as at the Rio Grande border.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Do you like what NCIS does on TV? - Look at ACIC.The Rio Grande.
Do you like what NCIS does on TV? - Look at ACIC.
Do you like what NCIS does on TV? - Look at ACIC.
The Rio Grande.
The Rio Grande.

Job Increases 2009 - 2020

El Paso enjoyed an upswing in jobs prior to the first receipt of Obama Stimulus Funds. Afterward, federal and state workforce partnerships developed additional new jobs. This continued to boost the local economy.

Major industries involved include:

  1. Large employers in most career fields of Nursing, including Travel Nursing
  2. Management
  3. Accounting
  4. Sales and Customer Service: This is especially important in the consistent commerce between residents of El Paso and its Mexican counterpart city.

Leading companies offering the above jobs:

  1. Texas Technical University Health Science Center at El Paso
  2. Del Sol Medical Center
  3. B & B Consultants
  4. Providence Memorial Hospital
  5. Delek US Holdings: An energy company involved in petroleum refining, logistics, asphalt, renewable fuels, and convenience store sales.
  6. U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (ACIC) -- Like NCIS, but located within the army. Fort Bliss is a particularly large employer that expands continually.

Texas Small Business Person of the Year in 2018, Von C. Washington, Sr., President and CEO for Integrated Defense Applications LLC dba IDA Technology...Awardees (included) fourteen different categories ranging from home-based, contracting, lending, young entrepreneur, women, minority and veteran small business champions.

— SBA El Paso District Office
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Juarez, El Paso's counterpart in Mexico.El Paso panorama view.EL PASO from the International Space Station in AD 2003. More densely populated Ciudad Juaréz, Mexico is separated from El Paso, Texas, by the Rio Grande.
Juarez, El Paso's counterpart in Mexico.
Juarez, El Paso's counterpart in Mexico. | Source
El Paso panorama view.
El Paso panorama view. | Source
EL PASO from the International Space Station in AD 2003. More densely populated Ciudad Juaréz, Mexico is separated from El Paso, Texas, by the Rio Grande.
EL PASO from the International Space Station in AD 2003. More densely populated Ciudad Juaréz, Mexico is separated from El Paso, Texas, by the Rio Grande. | Source

Special Promotions Increase Business, Jobs, and Tourism

The Downtown El Paso organization's leaders initiated an annual Running of the Bulls 5K (no real bulls run) race in AD 2017 and the next year's activities expanded to welcome even more participation and spectators.

Eat Authentico! is another promotion that offers enjoyment of the Tex-Mex and Mican cuisines around the Rio Grande.

The Downtown Management District promotes activities, festivals, and local grant funding for projects that appeal to tourists as well as local resident and the friends and increasing numbers of customers that come up to El Paso on a weekly basis from Mexico.

Companies That Employ the Most Workers from 2018 - 2020

  1. El Paso Independent School District: Pre-K through 12
  2. US Army Fort Bliss: Government, defense, aviation and aerospace
  3. City of El Paso City
  4. T & T Staff Management: Business services
  5. Ysleta Independent School District
  6. Uiversity of Texas, El Paso
  7. Sorocco Independent School District

Types of Companies Adding the Most Jobs

This list is dominated by Education, Business, Employment Services, Healthcare, and Food Services:

  1. Elementary & Secondary Schools, Public/Private
  2. Full-Service Restaurants
  3. Employment Services
  4. Home Health Care Services
  5. Local Government, City and County
  6. Limited-Service Dining
  7. Business Support Services
  8. All General Medical & Surgical Hospitals
  9. Offices of Physicians and Group Practices
  10. All Colleges, Universities, & Professional Schools

Top 10 High Demand Jobs to AD 2026

  1. Physicians: All specialties
  2. Registered Nurses, including Travel Nurses
  3. Medical and Health Technology professionals and support staff
  4. Physical and Occupational Therapists, Assistants, and Aides
  5. All Food & Beverage Prep and Service
  6. Retail Salespeople and their supervisors
  7. Engineers in many specialties, including aerospace and data services
  8. Mainstream Elementary School Teachers
  9. Truck Drivers: Heavy, Tractor-Trailer, Owner/Operators
  10. Janitors and Cleaners

Additional Fast Growing Jobs

  1. Home Health Aides: Certified HHAs
  2. Secretaries, Clerks and other office support
  3. Mainstream Middle School Teachers, High School Teachers; and Teacher Assistants Pre-K through 12 as well as Child Care Workers
  4. Construction Workers, skilled and unskilled; construction helpers
  5. Certified Nursing Aides, Orderlies, Attendants, Patient Care Techs, and related jobs

El Paso Healthcare Providers Increase Jobs

Starting from the city center and moving outward, healthcare providers include the following list, with selected links to their home pages, news, and job opportunities current and planned. Some of the heath systems below are expanding services and adding new specialties.

  1. El Paso Specialty Hospital
  2. MESA Hills Specialty Hospital
  3. Del Sol Medical Center
  4. Providence Memorial Hospital
  5. William Beaumont Army Medical Center
  6. Sierra Providence Physical Rehabilitation Hospital
  7. Sierra Providence Medical Center East
  8. Southwestern General Hospital
  9. Thomason Hospital
  10. Triumph Hospital El Paso
  11. Physicians Specialty Hospital of El Paso
  12. Sierra Medical Center
  13. Las Palmas Rehabilitation Hospital
  14. Highlands Regional Rehabilitation Hospital
  15. El Paso Psychiatric Center
  16. University Behavioral Health of El Paso
  17. Surgical Center of El Paso
  18. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso (TTUHSC)
  19. Total Care West – OB/GYN, women’s health issues.
  20. Border Children's Health Center

Ell Paso Curiosities
Ell Paso Curiosities | Source

Fort Bliss Jobs

Fort Bliss at El Paso is large enough to be a city all by itself.

The organization offers a general information, announcements, and links page similar to those found in any major city of America. The Fort Bliss web pages are extraordinarily full of activities, programs, and events. Civilian job openings are also listed and increasing in numbers.

A Recycling Program began on January 1, 2009 and the Fort Bliss pages present ongoing encouragement to workers and residents to participate fully. Recycling bins are even provided beside employee's and military staff persons' desks on base.

Child Abuse Prevention is a big program on base, with classes and support services along with a reporting scheme. Additionally, relationship-building classes and parenting training skills are available for couples in the military.

Of particularly important note is a long range study at Fort Bliss: The U.S. Army Family Study of Effects of Multiple Deployments on Adolescents. many enrichment programs are offered to military youth and an official Summer Youth Employment (SYE) program is maintained yearly.

Education and Training for Jobs

Specialty Schools

  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso: This is also a major employer.

Community Colleges and Vocational Schools

  • Doña Ana Branch Community College
  • El Paso Community College
  • International Business College
  • Western Technical College

Colleges and Universities

  • University of Texas El Paso, known as UTEP
  • Texas Tech Professional School of Architecture

New Education for New Jobs

Local higher education leadership is developing new jobs through cooperation with local businesses and government programs.

The following are emerging Texas industries that propel El Paso economy into a business boom:

  • Life Sciences,
  • Bio-technologies, and
  • Health Informatics.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Patty Inglish MS


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      @Nancy - Data and trends come from (public records) federal and state projections, and information gained from consistent reading of a variety of workforce development journals and speaking with contacts in that field.; and several years experience in the field myself. Local universities and the Chamber of Commerce in El Paso might have more recently updated data for you. Plus, new projections will be coming outo soon.

      Another rplace to search is the major job search engines, for they often have trending and BLS data among their webpages.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi, just wondering where you got your information from. It's really detailed. :-)

    • artrush73 profile image


      12 years ago

      At least somebody is giving job. A lot of people got layed off.


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