Of all the new jobs in the United States created between June, 2010 and June, 2011, 20 percent of them – one in every five – was created in Texas. The state’s economy is highlighted in “Best Performing Cities, 2011 – Where America’s Jobs Are Created and Sustained,” by the Milken Institute. Besides job creation, the report says Texas dominates most other economic indicators, as well.
Texas, of course, has some unique characteristics that separate it from the pack. The report notes that the state’s low business costs and friendly business climate help the state’s metros, as well as military base realignment, increased energy exploration and alternative fuels research, and low reliance on manufacturing of durable goods. Some Texas metros benefit from growth in computer and chip production. On top of those indicators, Texas aggressively recruits businesses from out of state.
The Best Performing Cities report lists the top 25 metro areas in the country. Texas accounts for nine of them. But smaller cities do well, too – with two of the top 10 in Texas. Here’s a summary of our place in the rankings:
San Antonio: It’s Number One among all metro areas in the country for economic performance. By the middle of 2011, San Antonio had already recovered – and passed – its pre-recession employment rate. The military’s Base Realignment and Consolidation process has brought the city an influx of facilities and people. There’s growth in health care and biosciences, new investment in oil and gas exploration, and a resurgence of production at the local Toyota truck plant.
El Paso: The Number Two metro area nationally. Again, the military leads the way, with Fort Bliss benefitting from expansion. The expansion has led to growth in health care, public schools, and retail, making El Paso the fourth-best metro area in job growth in the United States.
Austin: Fourth in the rankings. Austin had the third-highest job growth in the country from 2005-2010, and like San Antonio, has also exceeded its pre-recession level of employment. The city’s high tech industry continues to expand, with an addition to the Samsung Semiconductor plant expected to create 7,600 new jobs. EBay and Facebook are opening and expanding operations in the city as well.
Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood: Another area dependent upon the military, Killeen was the fifth best-performing metro. Fort Hood is the largest army installation in the country, and defense contractors are bringing new jobs to the area.
Farther down the list, Houston is ranked 16th nationally, but is at the top of the large metro rankings. Its economy continues to be led by oil and gas, especially increased gas drilling in shale formations. Health care, medical research, engineering and professional jobs are all growth areas. Houston had the sixth-highest job growth over the last five years.
In the Rio Grande Valley, the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area ranks 18th. It has the second-highest job growth from 2005-2010, driven by educational and health care services. The area also is seeing an influx of Mexican-owned companies trying to avoid that country’s ongoing drug violence.
Dallas comes in at 20th place, but was 17th-highest in the nation for job growth last year. Business spending on information technology equipment and software is creating jobs for programmers, engineers, and skilled workers.
Fort Worth enjoys a job growth rate seven percentage points higher than the national average, enough to put it in 24th place among all metro areas. An 80 percent increase in warehousing and storage jobs between 2005-2010 brought over 3,000 new employees to the city, and energy exploration factors in as well.
Rounding out the top 25 metro areas is Lubbock, in 25th place. Telecom accounts for a large percentage of Lubbock’s workers, as does Texas Tech.
College Station-Bryan and Longview ranked fourth and ninth, respectively, among small cities in the Best Performing Cities report, both with job growth higher than the national average.
The report’s authors are optimistic about prospects for job growth nationwide, and suggest that areas that have bounced back to the employment levels they enjoyed before the recession will fare better than other areas as the economy expands.
Texas CEO Magazine asked Texas mayors for an assessment of their cities’ job growth prospects – where the efforts are being made to increase employment.
Here is Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s Plan: http://texasceomagazine.com/features/houston-leadin…-the-recession/