Brownsville, TX-Recent Industry Growth

According to Forbes, Brownsville, TX ranked #129 in the cost of doing business and #112 in job growth in 2018. Back in 2014, Forbes ranked Brownsville #10 in the list of the best cities for future job growth. The major industries of Brownsville include transportation and healthcare. Various rankings and hard facts about Brownsville show its potential for industrial growth. The value of import-export trade activity at the Port of Brownsville was $287 million by the end of 2015.


It has been noted from the interactive image under “Industries” that the top three significant industries in terms of employment have not changed since 2013, as per data available on Data USA.


Reasons for the growth of these industries

  • Healthcare is the most significant industry in Brownsville because it has two major hospitals, which are among the city’s top employers. Besides this, the city is home to the country’s most advanced medical facilities including Abundant Life Home Health, Caring For You Home Health, Valley Regional Medical Center, Valley Baptist Medical Center, and Starkey Laboratories.
  • Retail is another flourishing industry of the Brownsville because of its location. That is to say, due to the vicinity of the city to the Texas-Mexico border, it attracts a lot of Mexican shoppers.
  • Mexican nationals spend nearly $4.5 billion annually in Texas border retail, out of which the city receives 30-35%.
  • According to BEDC, “The Brownsville-Matamoros Borderplex plays a key role in the supply chain-logistics of the North American Auto Alley”.
  • The proximity of Borderplex to Mexico has helped the region to become ideal for companies looking to establish automotive manufacturing operations or to supply the automotive market in Mexico.
  • The presence of SpaceX in the region is improving the future of the aerospace cluster in the Brownsville Borderplex besides providing entrepreneurship and innovation opportunities in space and aviation sectors.


Greater Brownsville Incentives Corp.

  • Founded in 1992, the company is proposed to furnish transportation equipment in a 70,000 to 80,000 square-foot facility in the Brownsville area.
  • The company has already placed proposals to metal fabricators and painters in the automotive sector for this project.
  • This project is anticipated to generate 150 jobs in the first 2-3 years of operation.

Natural gas plant

  • It is proposed to build 3 liquefied natural gas plants at the Port of Brownsville.
  • The expected initial investment of this project is around $25 billion.
  • This would provide a boost in the construction industry of Brownsville, as it is expected to generate over 1000 jobs in this sector.

Steel plant

  • The Arkansas-based company Big River Steel is expected to build a steel plant at the Port of Brownsville.
  • Brownsville is one of the two locations being considered.
  • The estimated cost of the project is around $1.5 billion.


  • The National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones has named “Brownsville’s Foreign Trade Zone, the nation’s No. 1 Warehousing and Distribution Exporting Zone”.
  • Out of 150 largest cities in the U.S. based on population, WalletHub has ranked Brownsville #22 on the list of “Best Cities to Start a Business”.
  • According to FDI Intelligence, “Brownsville ranked No. 8 on the list of Cities of the Future 2013-2014 for Foreign Direct Investment strategy”.
  • The Global Trade Magazine had Brownsville #21 on Top 25 Cities for Global Trade.
  • Out of 126 cities, NerdWallet had ranked Brownsville #26 on its “Cities on the Rise in Texas” in March 2014.

Brownsville, TX BRO Airport

The total impact of BRO airport amount s to 1,800 jobs. It generated $58.5 million in wages and benefits and $178.9 million in economic output.

Economic Impact of BRO Airport on Brownsville, TX economy

  • By the end of 2020, the Brownsville South Padre Island Interational Airport (BRO) is expected to finish construction on a new passenger terminal that will be more modern, functional, and efficient.
  • The BRO offers advertising space in the airport via concourse lighted displays, flyers, and brochures for monthly and yearly fees ranging from $30 to $475. According to the airport’s advertising brochure, such ads can reach around 16,500 travelers and gain up to 200,000 impressions per month.
  • The total impact of BRO airport amount to 1,800 jobs that received $58.5 million in wages and benefits. These workers generated $178.9 million in economic output.
  • In 2014, passengers at Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport had more non-stop flight options to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with the addition of four daily flights from American Airlines.
  • The airport had a remarkable 2014, recording over 207,000 passenger enplanements, the highest number of enplanements in its 86 years history.
  • As a result, 200 permanent jobs, $300,000 in extra sales tax revenue, and a $20 million impact on the region was generated.

Jobs Creation

  • A larger terminal building for the Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport terminal would result in a “significant economic impact on the economy in Cameron County,” according to a new study from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Division of Research, Innovation and Economic Development, Data, and Information Systems Center.
  • The city also lengthened two runways in order to handle larger aircraft which will entail applying for grants from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program. According to the study, the $55 million runway project would result in 557 jobs and generate $18.4 million in labor income, $27.7 million in value-added, and $2.7 million in state and local taxes for a total economic impact of $84.2 million.
  • Airport management predicts the expansion would create 150 new jobs at the airport during the next five years. The study estimates those jobs would generate $7.2 million in salaries and wages, in turn creating another 208 jobs, and generating $9.2 million in labor income, $3.6 million in value-added, and $475,250 in state and local taxes for a total economic impact of $14 million.
  • The study’s authors used aviation forecasts to estimate how many new overnight visitors an expanded airport and more airlines would attract. The estimates are 9,945 new visitors per year by 2020 and 36,104 by 2035.
  • Money spent by new visitors during that 15-year span would create 276 jobs, generate $106.9 million in labor income and $153.3 million in value-added for a total economic impact of $290.4 million, according to the study, which also projected an extra $24.3 million per year in state and local taxes.
  • The county’s economy from 2018 to 2035 would gain 1,395 jobs (911 of them temporary), $146.3 million in labor income and $201.8 million in value-added for a total economic impact of $431.6 million, according to the study.

Funds Granted

  • The U.S. Economic Development Agency also granted the Department of Aviation in Brownsville, TX $1,000,000 for which they decided to build a new Air Cargo facility where companies will be able to store goods, thus creating additional jobs at the airport.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation granted Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport(BRO) $2.3 million. The funds will be used to construct a new terminal building.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded $12.7m in funding to support the construction of the new terminal in September 2017 and the Brownsville Public Utilities Board agreed to provide $1.2m to support the utility infrastructure.

Brownsville, TX-Current Industry Growth

Apart from the Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport, which is the fastest-growing airport located in the Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville, TX is known to have a growing recreational industry that boosts residents quality of living and technology-based companies such as Rockwell Automation, etc. Rockwell Automation is contributing to the tremendous growth of the global manufacturing execution system market as one of the global top market players. The Brownsville space tourism industry is set for growth and aims at improving the quality of life for residents of the entire Texas area. Space tourism/observatory companies are showing interest and are coming to the Texas area. Tourism may improve traffic and number of annual visits to Brownsville and the entire Texas area.


  • The Brownsville recreational industry has recently been identified to have one of the fastest-growing parks and recreation departments in the State of Texas and has developed several facilities worthy of state recognition.
  • Brownsville has over 37 parks made up of more than 1,000 acres of parkland, 32 miles of hike/bike trails, three gymnasiums, and two public pools with about 50 buildings and structures, over 55 athletics fields. The Catherine Stillman Dog Park is a popular recreational spot in Brownsville.
  • Brownsville parks contribute to the City residents quality of life by providing “exceptional programs, facilities, parks and trails” for celebrations and events while also preserving the community’s natural and cultural heritage. Residents and visitors often watch or participate in soccer, football, baseball, softball, mountain biking, golf, volleyball, kickball, swimming, disc golf, hiking, bicycling events and enjoy an ever-expanding beautiful trail system.
  • Rockwell Automation, Inc. reported sales revenue of $1.6423 billion, an increase of 3.5% from $1.5866 billion in the first quarter of 2018 fiscal quarter. Organic sales grew by 5.7%.
  • In 2018, the city of Brownsville unveiled an all-inclusive playground at Riverside Park. After the renovation of the Riverside Park in September 2018, it opened with a ribbon-cutting event. The new playground is designed for accessibility by people with special needs and features a walking trail as well as exercise equipment.


  • Brownsville, TX, is contributing to the current growth of the global manufacturing execution system industry. Rockwell Automation is one of the companies that has its headquarters in Brownsville, Texas, and is contributing to the current growth of the global manufacturing execution system industry.
  • Rockwell Automation is known for its philanthropic priorities based on industry, company, as well as community needs. Rockwell automation makes efficient use of its capabilities to improve the quality of life of its communities.
  • Brownsville, TX, is contributing to the current growth of the space exploration industry.
  • SpaceX has plans to develop a space station in Brownsville, and this has positive implications for the entire Texas area if successful.
  • Brownsville residents are obviously excited according to Ramiro Gonzalez, a Brownsville city planner, and liaison officer who imagined what the planned transformation would look like 20 years from 2018 if the SpaceX’s plan comes to fruition. Tourism may improve traffic and number of annual visits to Brownsville and the entire Texas area.
  • The City of Brownsville Landfill area is already an attraction for tourists. Bird watchers come from all over Texas, the country and world to watch a multitude of bird species. Just recently, a group of about 50 birders visited the landfill area. Rio Grande Valley residents seeking to watch future launches will soon have the opportunity. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has given the go approval for non-permanent structures, like bleachers to put in place for observers.
  • Stargazers, young and old, will soon be able to view the “majesty of space — just miles from SpaceX.”
  • A 2019 Austin Chamber web report reveals that Austin, a popular hub for innovation, research, start-up generation, mobile solutions, big data, electronics manufacturing, super-computing, etc., is set to offer fertile ground for the growth of space-based enterprises.
  • Texas has established itself as a significant player within the space industry. Austin’s position at the forefront of space technology and innovation makes the entire region the ideal destination for modern space companies.
  • Experts believe that recent activities occurring in the region place Texas “one step closer” to space tourism.
  • As of 2018, SpaceX had released more than $2 million of the $13 million budgeted for its space efforts. About 200 jobs are estimated to be the direct benefit that may come to the Texas region. A public-private partnership between the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has resulted in a $1.8 million facility close to the space command center.
  • Experts predict that SpaceX will create a positive impact on tourism for the entire Rio Grande Valley, as hotels such as Harlingen are expanding their hotel room stocks to accommodate future tourists. Harlingen budgeted to increase its room count by one third in 2018.
  • SpaceX featured several adverts related to its space program in 2018.


  • The tourism industry in Brownsville and entire Texas is experiencing significant growth.
  • One significant tourist attraction the city of Brownsville is the “Charro Days Festival,” which is an event meant to celebrate the friendship between Brownsville and its neighboring areas.
  • Brownsville is a small town with a population of about 180,000. About 98% of the residents are pure-bred Mexican and regularly cross the bridge while traveling to Matamoros to join their families.
  • The year 2019 marks the 81st year of Charro Day celebrations. The Charro Days Festival commences in the latter part of February typically on the last Thursday of February, with the traditional Mexican Grito (celebratory cry) taking place at the Gateway International Bridge. The event is known to witness an “exchange of words and gifts between the mayors of both cities.”
  • Charro Day celebrations now include four parades with activities such as “floats, a rodeo, ballet folklórico” performances among school students and university students. Other events, such as mariachi and marimba concerts are also part of the celebration. A twilight parade performance of high school bands occurs on a Saturday during the celebration period.
  • A three-day event that attracts tourists to Washington Park located in historic downtown Brownsville is a source of many attractions, including the “jalapeno-eating contest, the grito contest, and the Charro beans cookoff.”
  • The Sombrero Festival features live music, food booths, Hispanic artists, and is widely anticipated all over Brownsville. The event gets livelier, improving the quality of life of participants every year during winter. Texans and travelers from cities across the valley come to Brownsville to celebrate together.


  • IAI, International Assembly, a privately held company founded in 1992 offers services to the United States and Mexico customs consulting and conducts logistics management services in the United States and Mexico.
  • The International Assembly Inc. launched its services in the city of Brownsville about 27years ago. At the moment, IAI has six manufacturing facilities with more than 300,000 square feet of space and employs over 1,100 people to handle laser etching, metal plating, robotic painting, injection molding, and other economic activities.
  • IAI plants produce everything from disposable medical items, bandsaw blades, meat-cutting blades to automotive parts such as seat belt housings, pharmaceutical/medical products, and consumer staples. Five plants are located in Matamoros near Veterans International Bridge
  • International Assembly planned to expand from Brownsville to cover other areas of Texas in 2018. The leader in of the manufacturing services industry planned to expand to commence a “plastic injection molding” plant operation in Harlingen, Texas.
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.


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