Five months ago, Dallas didn't even register on Forbes rundown of U.S. metro areas with the rosiest employment prospects, losing out to San Jose and Austin but also to Birmingham, Charleston, and Lakeland, Florida.
That was a prediction based on a survey of employers' hiring predictions. Now that the magazine has crunched actual employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (via Moody's Analytics) and threw out cities adding lots of menial workers, Dallas emerged victorious.
Dallas is joined on Forbes' "Best Cities for Good Jobs" list by Houston (No. 2), Austin (No. 3), Fort Worth (No. 4), and San Antonio (No. 6), which, if you're keeping count, means that Texas cities make up the top half of the magazine's top 10 list.
From the introduction to the list:
One explanation that is definitely false: Texas isn't growing on the backs of underpaid, non-union workers. While Texas is a right-to-work state, many of the highest paying jobs in the Dallas area are with unionized defense manufacturers like Bell Helicopter and Lockheed Martin, which produces the F-35 Lightning II fighter at a mile-long plant in Fort Worth.
Asked about the state's reputation for union-busting and low-wage jobs, Dallas Federal Reserve Economist Pia Orrenius said "we get a lot of that."
"People say it's all low-pay jobs, so I looked at employment growth by wage quartile," she said. And guess what? Not only is the Dallas-area per-capita income of $39,548 comfortably above the national average of $37,000, but it's growing fastest in the top half of wages above $16 an hour.
Dallas doesn't have the booming energy industry of Houston - No. 2 on the list with expected 5-year job growth of 2.6% a year - but it has a prosperous and growing financial and professional-services sector. Bank of America has large back-office operations in the Dallas area and the city is home to large law and accounting firms as well as professionals who serve the energy industry. "Those are your extremely high paying jobs," Orrenius said, paying an average of $28 an hour.
So, that's the good news. The bad news is, Forbes just gave Rick Perry another talking point about how right Rick Perry is.