Special Reports

What will it take for major retailers and businesses to expand to El Paso?

EL PASO, Texas - El Paso's economy is better than it has been in decades. 

An economic indicator report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in September shows El Paso's unemployment rate is at 4 percent -- the lowest its been since 1990.

The Borderplex Alliance, an organization focused on economic development in the region, firmly believes the success of El Paso's economy is linked to the success of Las Cruces and Ciudad Juarez.

"When we talk about the 2.7 million individuals living in this region, that captures peoples' attention," Borderplex CEO Jon Barela said. "Very often they see El Paso, and the U.S. Side of the border and they don't see it as one integrated economy."

With the economy trending in the right direction, some believe it's only a matter of time before El Paso can begin to lure major retailers and businesses.

"El Paso and Ciudad Juarez are places with untapped potential," UTEP economics professor Tom Fullerton said. "Without the shoppers from Mexico, the retail sector would shrink substantially. Right now, El Paso has a bigger retail sector in percentage terms than most other cities of comparable size in the United States."

The Borderplex Alliance estimates total retail sales in the El Paso area are close to $10 billion a year, and over $2 billion of that comes from Mexican shoppers.

Do not miss Mauricio Casillas' special report on the impact of cross-border shoppers. It airs Thursday night at 10 only on ABC-7.


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