Texas, led by Rick Perry, according to Forbes Magazine, absolutely dominates the top ten list of the best cities for new jobs. Texas is so dominant that the five of the top six cities listed were Texan: Dallas was first, Houston second, Austin third, and Fort Worth fourth, Seattle was fifth, closely followed by San Antonio.
The methodology Forbes used was based on statistics from Moody’s Analytics regarding the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country. The data was collated and ranked on three criteria: recent and expected job growth, current unemployment rate, and current and expected per-capita income. Cities that had experienced rapid job growth because they were coming back from the grave economically were dismissed, as well as cities bearing high unemployment rates. Cities that had more high-paying jobs were given priority.
Why is Texas so successful? Bernard Weinstein, associate director of Southern Methodist University’s McGuire Energy Institute, said:
The explanation is we have an incredibly diversified economy. As the national economy improves, we’re getting better. You’ve got these two economic powerhouses, Texas and California, and you have to ask why we are outperforming. It’s a real testament to the diversity and strength of our economy, that through good times and bad we are outperforming the nation.
Compare the Perry economy to the Obama economy. Unemployment in Texas rose from below 5% in 2007 to slightly above 8% in 2010, but it’s down to 6.2%. Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate is stuck at 8%.
Naysayers claim that Texas has found success due to underpaid, non-union workers because it is a right-to-work state. This is simply not true. For example, there are plenty of high-paying jobs at unionized defense manufacturers such as Bell Helicopter in Dallas and Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth. Dallas Federal Reserve Economist Pia Orrenius, challenged the naysayers, saying, “We get a lot of that. People say it’s all low-pay jobs, so I looked at employment growth by wage quartile.” Orrenius found that Dallas, for example, is growing fastest in top half of wages above $16 an hour.
Dallas has a five-year expected annual job growth of 2.8%, and unemployment of 5.9%, Houston, 2.6% and 6%, Austin, 3.2% and 5.2%, Forth Worth, 2.6% and 5.9%, and San Antonio, 2.6% and 5.8%.