Doing Business in McAllen

McAllen is light years away from its humble beginnings as a small agricultural community on the Texas border. Founded in 1911, McAllen was known primarily for its fertile farming, including cotton and citrus — that is, until the construction of the official McAllen-Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge in 1941. During the 1980s and 1990s, an abundance of affordable labor in Reynosa fueled the rise of the maquila industry and the development of the McAllen Foreign Trade Zone. The advent of NAFTA in 1994 cemented McAllen’s future as a nexus of international trade, health care, retail and tourism.

Workforce & Statistics

McAllen and the communities of Mission and Edinburg, which together make up the McAllen metropolitan statistical area, boast a combined workforce of nearly 350,000 people. With low unemployment and a steady job growth rate, McAllen has proven fertile ground for an ever-broadening labor force, which compliments the even larger labor force across the Rio Grande.

Cost Of Living

Out of all 260 metropolitan statistical areas in the United States, McAllen ranks as the No. 1 most affordable place to live. With a cost of living index nearly 25% below the national average, McAllen offers its residents a high-end lifestyle for rock-bottom prices. From housing to groceries to construction materials, nearly everything is overall less costly in the City of Palms (McAllen) - not to mention in our neighboring Harlingen/Brownsville MSA, which ranks as the 2nd most affordable place to live.


McAllen's employers offer competitive wages and benefits for their managers/administrators in a wide range of fields - salary figures which become even more lucrative when factoring in our low cost of living.


Hiring Your Team

The McAllen EDC operates in tandem with our fellow border commerce organizations to provide new corporate and industrial residents with all the resources needed to build a reliable, fully-functioning team of skilled workers. From holding job fairs to designing training programs with our local colleges, we are dedicated to fostering long-term working relationships between our international companies and the young, local workforce employed by them.

Major Employers

On McAllen's side of the border, the Retail and Education/Healthcare job sectors continue to dominate. Tens of thousands in the McAllen MSA are employed by local school districts, colleges and universities, and many more hold jobs with the area's largest retailers, such as H-E-B, one of Texas' biggest grocery chains.


An abundance of transportation routes via land, air and sea make getting in and out of McAllen easy. Mexico's brand-new transcontinental highway leads right to our doorsteps - the McAllen-Hidalgo-Reynosa Bridge and the Anzalduas International Crossing. The 5 million vehicles that cross into McAllen via these bridges each year have access to an array of highways and interstates, including Interstate 69 and U.S. Highway 83. We are less than an hour away from the Port of Brownsville, and there are seven international airports in the immediate vicinity. McAllen-Miller International Airport is serviced by United, Aeromar, American Airlines and Allegiant, which offers low-cost nonstop flights to Las Vegas, Southern California and Florida, including a new, twice-weekly flight to Los Angeles.

  • Interstate 2/U.S. Highway 83 - a west-east Interstate Highway running through the Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. It begins at the intersection of U.S. Highway 83 (US 83) and Business US 83 west of Palmview and heads eastward before terminating at I-69E/US 77 in Harlingen. For its entire length, I-2 shares its alignment with US 83. I-2 also parallels Mexican Federal Highway 2, a major east-west route that traces the Mexico-U.S. border along the Mexican side of the Rio Grande.
  • Interstate 69 - an Interstate Highway in the United States currently consisting of seven disjointed parts with an original continuous segment from Indianapolis, Indiana, northeast to the Canada-US border in Port Huron, Michigan, at 355.8 miles (572.6 km). The remaining separated parts are variously completed and posted or unposted parts of an extension southwest to the Mexican border in Texas.
Bus Service
Rail Transport
  • Providers: Rio Valley Switching & Union Pacific Rio Valley Switching
  • Main or Branch Line: Branch line of main line to interior U.S. and Mexico Shortline or National: Shortline.
  • Local service provided by Rio Valley Switching Switching Yard: Rio Valley Switching connects to Union Pacific Railroad; Burlington Northern
Freight Services
  • UPS 757
  • Fed Ex
  • DHL

Water Rate
  • Base Fee: $8.45

  • $1.35 per 1000 gal. (0-7,999 gal.)

  • $1.65 per 1000 gal. (8,000-12,999 gal.)

  • $1.85 per 1000 gal. (13,000-17,999 gal.)

  • $1.95 per 1000 gal. (18,000+ gal.)

Sewer Rate
  • Base Fee: $10.50

  • $1.60 per 1000 gal. (0-19,999 gal.)

  • $2.10 per 1000 gal. (20,000+ gal.)

  • All Consumption 


Texas is only one of 7 states to not have a state income tax. Texas has one of the lowest tax burdens in the nation, ranking 10th Best Business Tax Climate among all 50 states.
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The following are some incentives that could apply to your project. With all City, County and State incentives, the McAllen Economic Development Corporation would serve as an advocate and resource for assistance during the application process.

Some training incentives are administered through South Texas College (STC), which offers a variety of programs that can be customized to fit your training needs. A few of the programs included in this effort are: tool and die, industrial maintenance, precision manufacturing, plastics, leadership and supervisory training. STC is the only college in the state of Texas to be accredited by National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS). In addition to STC, the Rapid Response Manufacturing Center located at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley  (UTRGV) in the McAllen MSA focuses on new research, advanced manufacturing and customization. The center is one of several strategies, including workforce recruitment and training, of the North American Advanced Manufacturing Research Initiative (NAAMREI). NAAMREI is a network of 47 partners from K-12 and higher education, business, economic development, industry, finance and government focused on offering manufacturers across North America and the globe, access to proprietary, world-class advanced and rapid response manufacturing.

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