See our other posts on the top jobs in various states.
In this post, we use Analyst (EMSI’s web-based labor market analysis tool) to search for the best jobs in Texas for 2012. We focus on three main criteria: wages, growth (over the past five years), and concentration. All of our observations are based purely on labor market analysis from EMSI’s most recent (2011.4) data release, which is drawn from more than 80 state and federal data sources.
Here’s a quick overview to give us some perspective. Since 2007, jobs in Texas have grown by 3.8%. The state population is 25.5 million. There are nearly 11 million covered jobs (jobs covered by unemployment insurance) and about 972,000 unemployed workers (according to current estimates). Average annual earnings for Texas employees is almost $48K. In 2010, Texas institutions reported just over 291,000 completions in higher ed programs.
Table 1 shows all the jobs that pay over $45 per hour (2011 median hourly wage).
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- Not surprisingly, healthcare occupations crowd together at the top: oral and maxillofacial surgeons ($103.20), physicians and surgeons ($80.53), podiatrists ($79.85), orthodontists ($76.88), and dentists ($67.20).
- The highest-paying non-healthcare jobs are chief executives ($78.13), airline pilots/copilots/flight engineers ($66.00), engineering managers ($60.33), geoscientists ($57.45), and petroleum engineers ($56.59).
- Far and away the best job on this chart is petroleum engineers. It has grown by 33%, adding almost 4,000 jobs in the past five years. Even more impressive is its location quotient (LQ) of 6.49, which means that these engineering jobs are more than six times as concentrated in Texas as they are in other states. Basically, it indicates a high degree of specialization for this occupation. (For more about LQ, click here.)
- Another clear winner is geoscientists, which has added 1,525 jobs (18% growth) and has a solid LQ of 3.72.
Here are a few descriptions, in case you’re curious:
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform surgery on mouth, jaws, and related head and neck structure to execute difficult and multiple extractions of teeth, to remove tumors and other abnormal growths, to correct abnormal jaw relations by mandibular or maxillary revision, to prepare mouth for insertion of dental prosthesis, or to treat fractured jaws.
Engineering managers plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as architecture and engineering or research and development in these fields.
Geoscientists, except hydrologists & geographers study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the earth. May use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, minerals, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems. May study the earth’s internal composition, atmospheres, oceans, and its magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces. Includes mineralogists, crystallographers, paleontologists, stratigraphers, geodesists, and seismologists.
Petroleum engineers devise methods to improve oil and gas well production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs. Oversee drilling and offer technical advice to achieve economical and satisfactory progress.
Here we examine two things: (1) the percent growth and (2) the total number of new jobs since 2007. For the next two tables, we filter for jobs that earn above $25 per hour (2011 median hourly wage) and employ more than 1,000 workers. We’re also limiting our analysis to non-educational occupations (so we’re not looking at jobs like elementary school teachers).
Starting with percent growth:
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- Petroleum engineers are at the top of the list with 33% growth.
- Dental hygienists (28%), physical therapist assistants (26%), physical therapists (25%), physicians assistants (24%), and financial examiners (24%) have also done well since 2007.
- 12 of the 25 jobs on this table added fewer than 1,000 jobs.
And if you were wondering…
Financial examiners enforce or ensure compliance with laws and regulations governing financial and securities institutions and financial and real estate transactions.
So what happens when we look for the occupations that added the most jobs since 2007? The results are quite different:
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- Registered nurses gained over 20,000 new jobs, which translates to 13% growth.
- The rest are quite a ways behind. Occupations that added over 2,000 are accountants and auditors (added 4,502 ), physicians and surgeons (added 4,129), petroleum engineers (added 3,075), business operation specialists (added 3,026), management analysts (added 2,979), medical & health services managers (added 2,184), dental hygienists (added 2,073), detectives & criminal investigators (added 2,013), and network systems & data communications analysts (added 2,002).
Considering both tables:
- Petroleum engineers is an obvious leader. Nearly 4,000 new jobs is great (even though it isn’t as high as that of registered nurses), but even more importantly, the industry grew by more than a third.
- Next is dental hygienists with 28% growth and 2,586 new jobs, followed closely by physical therapists with 25% and 2,500 new jobs.
Table 4 shows the jobs with the highest concentration—i.e., the most specialized jobs for Texas. Again, we apply a filter that gives us only the jobs that employ 1,000+ workers.
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- Petroleum engineers again tops the list (6.49 LQ).
- Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining (6.25), roustabouts, oil and gas (5.24) and geological and petroleum technicians (5.12) aren’t far behind.
- Nine of the 26 most concentrated jobs are actually in decline, and all but one of these is related to either production (SOC Code 47) or construction & extraction (SOC Code 51).
- The jobs showing the most growth are a result of the oil boom, with five of them near the top of the list: service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining (22% growth, 4,300 new jobs); roustabouts, oil and gas (20% growth, 5,291 new jobs); derrick operators, oil and gas (15% growth, 1,331 new jobs, 4.86 LQ); rotary drill operators, oil and gas (13% growth, 1,243 new jobs, 4.21 LQ); and helpers, extraction workers (8% growth, 649 new jobs, 4.12 LQ).
- As for production jobs, the only one that is really doing well is petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers. It grew by 13%, added nearly 1,700 jobs, and has a notable LQ of 3.96 (ranking it 9th on the concentration table).
- Most of the jobs on this list only require on the job training. Only five of these jobs require associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees.
The best jobs in Texas tend to fall in three areas: oil & gas, health care, and business management.
- Oil & gas—Not surprisingly, the oil & gas sector boom is heavily pushing growth in Texas. If we put all the factors—pay, growth, concentration—together, we see that petroleum engineers, geoscientists, rotary drill operators, and petroleum pump system operators are prime targets according to the labor market data.
- Healthcare—Other promising jobs for 2012 are those in healthcare (especially registered nurses).
- Business management—Jobs like accountants and auditors, business operation specialists, management analysts, and network systems & data communications analysts all seem pretty solid and have done well despite the past five years of economic slump.
These jobs all offer decent wages, show good growth, and are unique to the state.