Things are booming in Dallas. Texas is the land of opportunity, according to Forbes' report on America's next boomtowns. Forbes analyzed the 53 largest metro areas in the country to determine which have the best chance of prospering in the next decade, and four of the 10 are in Texas. "The most vital parts of urban America can be encapsulated largely in one five-letter word: Texas," says Forbes, declaring Austin No. 1, Houston No. 6, Dallas-Fort Worth No. 7, and San Antonio No. 8 on the list. "Austin, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, and San Antonio are very different places, but they all have enjoyed double-digit job growth from 2010 through 2014, well above the national average of 8.1 percent," Forbes notes. These Lone Star hubs also boast huge increases in populations of young, educated millennials and households with children. The metros have also seen hikes in income growth.
In Dallas-Fort Worth, it looks like this: DFW experienced 15 percent job growth from 2010-2015 and an 8.2 percent population increase from 2010 to 2014. And, 33 percent of the population ages 25-44 have at least a bachelor's degree.
Call it the I-35 firewall, because it’s the best defense against a big downturn in the Texas economy. Three major metros along the interstate corridor — Dallas, Austin and San Antonio — keep adding jobs even as oil prices plunge. And their gains may be enough to offset the energy shock. At least they were last year, and that’s likely to continue, said Rob Kaplan, the new president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The bright spots were Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, which together created 168,000 jobs — the exact net gain for the entire state. While Dallas slipped in manufacturing, it grew strongly in professional services; trade, transportation and utilities; and leisure and hospitality.
EditTouchShareBoosted by relocating companies like Toyota and State Farm,property values are rising and building is in growth mode.Last year, construction added 22,100 jobs statewide,according to the Dallas Fed.
Interstate banking also is widespread now, which dilutes some risk.Kaplan said most Texas lenders are seasoned veterans who’ve beenthrough booms and busts, so he doesn’t expect them to be caught in the oil sector fallout.
“They’ve watched their exposure,” Kaplan told The Dallas Morning News’ editorial board on Jan. 15.
Economists often cite the diversification of the Texas economy, as well as its size. Oil and gas dominate in the Permian Basin, accounting for almost 1 in 4 jobs in Midland. Statewide, the sector accounts for 2.8 percent of jobs, almost twice the national rate. In Houston, the share is 3.5 percent.
Then there are Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, where the energy industry is under-represented. Workers in natural resources and mining accounted for 1 percent or less of total employment in the three metros, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Fort Worth metro has a heavier concentration in oil and gas and in manufacturing, so it’s more vulnerable to low oil prices. (In Texas, manufacturers make many products for the energy business.) Fort Worth lost 3,900 jobs in manufacturing and 4,400 jobs in the broad category that includes construction, mining and natural resources, according to the Dallas Fed.
For the year, the Fort Worth metro added 6,300 jobs, while the Dallas side of the Metroplex grew by over 99,000.
Since 1990, Texas has grown at about twice the annual rate of the nation. And most of the time, Phillips said, there was a long decline in oil and gas jobs.
But if oil prices get too low — averaging less than $30 a barrel for the year — Texas could end up with a net loss in jobs, he said.
Dallas, Austin and San Antonio can do only so much.
- Dallas Business Journal, January 25, 2016