By now, Dallas is well-known for its quick rally from the recession. One of several Texas metros to top the list of fastest-growing US economies, Dallas has added over 268,000 new jobs since 2010, growing from 3.1 million to 3.4 million — a 9% increase. This represents 6% growth since 2007, before the economy tanked, but Dallas wasn’t hit nearly as hard as some MSAs: from 2007 to 2010 it dipped a mere 2.4% while Chicago, for example, fell 7% and Los Angeles declined 8%.
For this post, we’ve used Analyst, our online labor market tool, to discover Dallas’s top 12 driver industries — the industries that are impelling this strong post-recession growth with high wages, compelling concentration (measured by location quotient), new jobs, and sometimes all three. (More details on some handy criteria for determining driver industries can be found in our recent post). We then used similar metrics to discover Dallas’s top occupations.
Together, these dozen industries have contributed nearly 55,000 new jobs over the past three years (17% growth). The following table shows the job growth, percent growth, and concentration of each:
A couple distinct patterns are obvious. After remaining seemingly unfazed by the recession, the oil sector (NAICS 21) is now the best-paying, fastest-growing, and most concentrated sector in Dallas, and continues to play a big part in Dallas’s boom. Look at the rises in support activities for mining (7,298 new jobs, 82% growth) and oil & gas extraction (2,889 new jobs, 23%). Also note the strong presence of the finance sector: nondepository credit intermediation (5,285 new jobs, 13% growth), agencies, brokerages, and other insurance related activities (4,692 new jobs, 14% growth), and activities relate to credit intermediation (3,897 new jobs, 33% growth). Nondepository credit intermediation has especially high concentration (3.44 LQ).
But notice that not every driver industry in Dallas has the most radiant job growth. Aerospace product & parts manufacturing has actually dipped by 174 jobs (1% decline) while semiconductor & other electronic component manufacturing has lost over 1,000 jobs (-5%). These industries nevertheless continue to be some of the heavy hitters in the Dallas economy. Aerospace manufacturing jobs are highly concentrated in Dallas (3.05 LQ) and offer some of the best wages (average of $125K per job, per year). The same with semiconductor & other electronic component manufacturing (2.44 LQ, $132K per job).
Another interesting story is with communications equipment manufacturing, which we left off the table for a reason. When we check out the growth in 2010-2013, it all looks quite rosy: nearly 1,800 new jobs, 21% growth, and concentration that is more than healthy (4.15 LQ):
But stepping back to get a view of the forest, we see that the industry has absolutely plummeted since 2001 (61% loss) and looks likely to slump again after 2013:
Falling corporate profit? Competition from imports? A losing battle with low labor-cost countries? Probably all of the above. The industry may have driven some of Dallas’s bounce-back in the past three years, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be driving for much longer.
As can be expected, the industry growth has yielded a slew of new jobs in many lower-wage occupations that typically require on-the-job training (OJT). From 2010 to 2013, Dallas gained nearly 174,000 jobs that required anything from short-term OJT to work experience in a related field — more than four times the number of jobs added to occupations that required an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree combined. (But do bear in mind that some occupations, such as registered nurses, are filed under associate’s degree when they often require more training than that — which slightly skews the figures below.)
The OJT jobs growing especially weed-fast are the oil & gas jobs such as derrick operators (707 new jobs, 80% growth), service unit operators (1,260 new jobs, 68% growth), and roustabouts (1,187 new jobs, 56% growth). And since they’re tied to such a specialized industry, these jobs are also among the most concentrated Dallas has to offer: derrick operators, 2.96 LQ; service unit operators, 2.21 LQ; roustabouts, 2.26 LQ.
The catch, of course, is the low pay. OJT jobs pay, on average, $15.12 per hour, while associate’s-degree jobs pay an average of $23.33 and bachelor’s- and master’s-level jobs, $49.61. So, while the OJT jobs might appeal based on concentration and accessibility, we’ll focus on the occupations that are more compelling for actual careers.
To find these occupations, we filtered for those with at least 500 jobs in 2013, average wages of $30 per hour or more, and concentration of 1.2 LQ or higher, then narrowed it down to those with the best growth. The results are 20 almost exclusively high-skilled occupations. Many of these are staffed within the driver industries (listed under “related industries”), which helps explain their growth and concentration.
For best overall growth, the standouts are software developers, systems software (2,290, 19%), software developers, applications (2,548, 17%), and computer systems analysts (2,203, 15%). In contrast, petroleum engineers haven’t added that many new jobs (505), but they’ve grown by the greatest percent (26%) and boast the highest concentration (2.67 LQ).
Data for this post came from Analyst, EMSI’s labor market research tool. For more information or to see similar data for a particular sector or region, contact Rob Sentz. Follow EMSI on Twitter @DesktopEcon.