Texas metropolitan areas have regained most of the jobs lost due to COVID-19. While growth that would otherwise have taken place has been abandoned or at least delayed, the long-term outlook remains rather positive.
More than three-quarters of all jobs in the state are currently located in the state’s seven largest metropolitan areas, a proportion that has steadily increased over time. By 2045, the Houston and Dallas areas will likely each account for about a quarter of net new jobs, with the larger areas of Austin, San Antonio and Fort Worth each contributing between 8% and 9% of the total gain.
The fastest growing metropolitan centers, measured by percentage changes in jobs, are expected to be those with significant concentrations of energy activity (although some of these are coming back from sharp initial declines and lingering remnants of COVID- 19), including Odessa (up an annual compound of 1.90% per year through 2045), Midland (1.87%), San Angelo (1.85%) and Tyler (1.81% ). These smaller MSAs are expected to match or exceed the fastest growing large metropolitan areas (such as Dallas-Plano-Irving with 1.85% annual growth and Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown with 1.80%).
Employment in the Fort Worth-Arlington-Grapevine metropolitan division is expected to grow at an annual rate of 1.68%, while El Paso is expected to experience modest employment growth through 2045 at a rate of 1, 55% per year.
The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA economy has struggled recently due to the slow recovery in the energy sector, but these issues are expected to resolve over time. Employment in the region is expected to grow at an annual rate of 1.74% through 2045.
The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA is expected to experience annual employment growth of 1.76% through 2045. The pace of expansion of the economy of the San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA is expected to continue, the job expected to increase at an annual rate of 1.70% during the period.
Smaller metropolitan areas in Texas are also expected to experience notable gains over time. As mentioned, areas with significant energy activity are expected to experience particularly strong job growth as the industry recovers from declining demand from the pandemic and other issues. Sherman-Denison (1.73%) is also expected to exceed the state’s rate of expansion. Most other smaller MSAs are expected to grow 1.50% or more through 2045.
While the residual effects of the coronavirus and the emerging omicron variant may cause problems in some areas over the next several years, metropolitan areas in Texas are expected to experience noticeable long-term expansion. Larger population centers are expected to generate the most net new jobs, but several smaller metropolises are likely to keep pace in terms of relative increases. Certainly there are challenges, but the overall outlook is rather encouraging. Happy New Year – and stay safe!
Dr. M. Ray Perryman is President and CEO of The Perryman Group (www.perrymangroup.com), which has served the needs of more than 2,500 customers over the past four decades.