Aug 14, 2013
Emily McMackin
Emily McMackin
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The Lone Star: Texas Leads Most U.S. Cities in Projected Future Job Growth

Austin TX leads the list of the top metros for small business.

Where can workers go to find the jobs of the future? Texas is the place to be, apparently. Forbes recently released its annual list of Best Cities for Future Job Growth, and seven of the top 10 cities on the list happened to be in the Lone Star State. Leading the pack is Austin, a newly crowned a gigabit community (thanks to Google Fiber) and self-proclaimed “weird” city increasingly known for its cool factor.

The profitable tech industry is a big reason why. Expanding rapidly across the city are tech-based corporations and firms like Accenture, eBay and Time Warner Cable, which are adding to their operations there. Not only are they creating a slew of jobs, but they are also creating high-paying ones. The average wage for National Instruments, a maker of test and measurement hardware and software systems that recently announced plans to add 1,000 jobs in the city, is $72,223. And Visa, which picked Austin for its new software development center, plans to add 800 jobs at an average salary of $112,000.

Overall, employment across the city is expected to increase by 4 percent annually over the next few years, and the metro already boasts a net migration rate that is the third fastest growing one in the country, driving the demand for services in the area.

What makes Austin the city of choice? Along with its thriving tech ecosystem, the city has two major assets coveted by today’s companies: talent — and what it takes to attract it. Home to the main campus of the University of Texas, Austin is constantly producing a fresh crop of graduates, and its college town background has given rise to a funky, distinctive arts and cultural scene that is drawing young professionals from all parts of the country.

Other Texas cities dominating the list included McAllen (No. 2), Houston (No. 3), Fort Worth (No. 4), Dallas (No. 8), Laredo (No. 9) and Brownsville (No. 10). Investment in IT, professional services and energy (a highly technical industry in its own right) is fueling job growth in these cities.

The state is a top exporter of petroleum/coal products, chemicals, electronics and transportation equipment, and it’s inching up on California as a top spot for corporate headquarters. Texas recently launched an ad campaign designed to lure West Coast companies to its borders — and the state’s cost perks and talent pool have already convinced some tech firms to make the move.

Cities in a few other states did have a small showing on the list, including Ocala, Fla. (No. 5), Santa Cruz, Calif. (No. 6) and Salt Lake City, Utah (No. 7).

What’s your take on these rankings? Are there other states that deserve mention? What factors are driving future job growth, and what can cities do to maximize those? Please share your thoughts below.

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