Job growth continues to be very strong in North Texas. Over the year ending in July, payroll employment in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area increased by 3.5 percent, widening the gap with the U.S. average at 1.8 percent. This robust rate of job growth is on par with the previous cyclical high from early 2006. A result of strong job growth is a rapidly falling unemployment rate, now forecast to be at 4.0 percent by the end of 2015. While the North Texas economy has benefitted from the renaissance in the U.S. petroleum industry, it also continues to diversify, adding significant new non-energy-related industries and employment. This will help to buffer the drag from an eventual and inevitable down cycle in the energy sector.
A key challenge in managing rapid economic expansion is the development of infrastructure and amenities to ensure that quality of life improves along with the gains in employment. To that end, Fort Worth looks like it will be getting a new 14,000 seat $450 million multipurpose arena and sports facility. The proposed new area would be located in Fort Worth’s Cultural District. This will no doubt help North Texas keep its cool. Forbes has ranked the Dallas-Fort Worth- as the 10th “coolest” city in the U.S. based on recreation, entertainment, foodie culture, age of residents, diversity and population growth. We already knew that North Texas is cool.
North Texas is adding industrial floor space. According to CBRE, the area has 18.5 million square feet of new warehouse and distribution space under development. In the second quarter 2.4 million square feet of industrial space was absorbed while 2 million square feet of new space was added, bringing the vacancy rate for industrial space down to a tight 6.3 percent. The Wade Park mixed-use project in Frisco keeps getting bigger. The now 175-acre plan includes office space, a grocery store, entertainment venues, a hotel, and single- and multifamily housing.
Click here for the complete North Texas MSA Regional Economic Update: NorthTexas 2014Q2.