Dallas is Getting Bigger, Better and Teeming with Jobs

A booming economy, soaring employment rates, and the big guns yearning to relocate – what more can Dallas ask for? Of the 12 fastest growing metropolitan cities in the country economically, Dallas is number one in 2017. The boost to the economy was foreseen in 2016 with a plethora of data centers setting up their operations in Dallas, including Facebook.

While the unemployment rate in Dallas is pegged at 3.9%, job growth is rising and how. The city is emerging as a pinnacle of economic strength. Nearly 31,500 jobs were added to the professional and business sectors in a span of one year, up from 23,300 in 2016.

Dallas ranked high in trade, transportation, and utilities related jobs. Transportation, warehousing, and utilities saw an increase of 9,200 jobs with a 5.1 percent rate of gain. Wholesale and retail sectors added 7,500 jobs and 6,600 jobs respectively. [1]

Employment on a roll

According to the Dallas Fed, oil and gas employment reached a total of 218,500. While several areas in Texas have slowed in recent years in terms of economic growth (well, nothing like California and New York though, for example), Dallas continued to add jobs. The city’s central location, low cost of living, and favorable business climate are the most sought after by multinationals across the board in every sector.

13,700 non-farm payroll jobs were added. The number was much fewer than the 38,300 in September of 2016.

There were 8,200 trade, transportation, and utility jobs added in the state in October along with 4,400 financial services jobs. However, about 3,200 jobs in the construction sector and 1,500 in the professional and business services sector were cut. [2]

The city has added jobs in 18 of the past 19 months.

Office and Administrative Support 15.7 18.4
Sales Related 10.4 11.0
Food preparation 9.2 9.3
Transportation and material moving 6.9 7.9
Financial Services 5.2 5.5
Installation, maintenance and repair 3.9 4.2
Construction and extraction 4.0 4.1

TABLE: Wages and employment by key occupational groups, US and the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington Metropolitan Area

Wages are not increasing

Dallas is rife with jobs for professionals, particularly in the areas of business analysis, accountancy, healthcare, and information technology. But the growth scenario is not exactly shining for the blue collar workers, both in terms of number of jobs and wages. 

While there has been no significant increase in jobs added, wages back from 2016 to 2017 have remained on the same level. Construction laborers are paid $14.22, customer representatives are paid $17.33, and retail salespersons are paid $13.79. These numbers have stagnated for a while.

First-line supervisors and administrative support workers, executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants were the highest paying jobs with mean hourly wages of $30.87 and $28.22, respectively. Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks at $10.43 and tellers at $12.82 were among the lowest paying jobs. [3]

Construction jobs in demand

The suburbs in Dallas are growing more fortunate every year that marches by. Toyota Motor Corporation, Federal Express, and Liberty Mutual Insurance will together add more than 12,000 jobs in 2017. The city has been kind to the construction industry too. The British tycoon Sir Richard Branson hosted a ceremony for the new Virgin hotel in the Design District. As an added bonus, 1,500 new residential units are also being constructed in the same area. This is likely to trigger a rise in construction jobs, though the numbers are not yet clear.

A major hub for data centers is emerging in Dallas, especially in suburban areas. The suburb of Garland is soon getting a one-million-square-foot data through a partnership between Sacramento-based Raging Wire Data Centers and Japanese telecom company, NTT Communications Corp.

While this is not particularly effective in terms of increasing job prospects, other area employers will be on the lookout for new talent. In other words, many of the relocated employees will bring with them new talent to the area. [4]

Manufacturing gets a boost with big names

The Dallas area has a vast amount of land – which makes it the perfect destination for large-scale manufacturing projects. According to the Dallas Federal Reserve economist, Laila Assanie, the growing economy of Dallas has given a boost to jobs in the manufacturing sector. Assaine observed that energy played a determining role in the flat numbers last year. While the overall manufacturing employment in Texas contracted, Dallas’ manufacturing employment saw a jump of 1.8 percent.

According to the Dallas Regional Chamber, the city has more activity in terms of manufacturing than any other metropolitan area in Texas. It makes up nearly 30 percent of the state’s employment numbers.

Dallas Regional Chamber, DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) figures show that the city’s manufacturing activity is higher than that of all other metropolitan areas in Texas. Almost 30 percent of the jobs in the state are in the manufacturing sector. Lockheed Martin, Texas Instruments, and General Motors are some of the big players looking to enter the market. [5]

The fight for Amazon’s HQ: 50,000 jobs

In the last 10 to 15 years, Dallas has grown stupendously from a collection of suburbs to a hub of manufacturing and IT. Now comes the real competition – Amazon is planning its second headquarters and Dallas is in the running (lots of tech companies are in Texas because Texas has low taxes and a skilled work force). 

“$5 billion in construction investment,” reads the Formal Request for Proposal, which includes details about Amazon’s new headquarters. Some of the key figures being tossed around are $38 billion in investments in the local economy, and $25.7 billion in compensation to Amazon employees that would be employed in the Dallas area (or any area Amazon chooses). [6]

Amazon’s conditions for the selection of the site include:

  • Metro area with more than one million people

  • A stable and business-friendly environment

  • Urban area with access to strong technical talent

Amazon’s real strength lies in focusing on direct employees. The jobs, as the proposal says, are high-paying, six figures at least (probably not all of them!). Amazon seeks competent local and regional talent, especially in the area of software development and related fields.

Unperturbed by the recession, Hurricane Harvey, and the current fall in oil prices, Dallas has emerged as one of America’s fastest growing economies. Attracting multinationals, ramping up its role on the national front, and becoming a haven for new jobs and fresh talent, Dallas is pushing all the right buttons. Amazon or not, all is pretty well with Dallas.

1.       https://www.bls.gov/regions/southwest/summary/blssummary_dallasfortworth.pdf

2.       https://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2016/11/18/dfw-unemployment-rate-falls-to-lowest-since-may.html

3.       https://www.bls.gov/regions/southwest/news-release/2016/areaemployment_dallasfortworth_20160728.htm

4.       https://www.bls.gov/regions/southwest/news-release/2016/areaemployment_dallasfortworth_20160728.htm

5.       https://www.dmagazine.com/publications/d-ceo/2017/july-august/manufacturing-is-thriving-in-north-texas/