North Texas Shows Benefits of Economic Diversity

The Texas economy is feeling the drag from lower oil prices, and North Texas is no exception. However, the well-diversified economy of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metro area is providing some insulation from the downdraft in the state’s energy sector. North Texas gained an average of 11,000 payroll jobs per month over 2014. Through the first eight months of 2015, that average is down to 6,600. In two months this year, March and May, North Texas had net job losses, and in July there were close to zero net new jobs. This is clearly a downshift for the regional economy, but the downshift is not as pronounced as it is in the Houston metro area, which has seen net job losses in four out of eight months this year.

Examples of economic diversity in North Texas are easy to find. Facebook announced in July that construction had begun on a new $1 billion data center in Fort Worth. Along with the data center, Facebook is part of a partnership that is building a 202 megawatt wind farm in Clay County, Texas, well outside of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metro area. Fort Worth’s central business district will see its first new office tower since 2008. The 25-story 640 Taylor project will begin construction this year. Three North Texas counties, Collin, Denton and Rockwall, were among the 25 fastest-growing counties in the U.S. in 2014, according to the Census Bureau.

With rapid economic growth over the past several years, housing markets in North Texas remain tight. According to the July Case-Shiller House Price index, Dallas house prices were up 8.2 percent over the previous 12 months, well ahead of the U.S. average of 4.5 percent. Corelogic issued a report this month that put all the Texas big housing markets on a watchlist for being overvalued. Austin topped the Corelogic list. Houston was second on the list of 14 cities, Dallas was eighth and Fort Worth ranked twelfth.

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Click here for the complete North Texas Regional Economic Update: NorthTexas _2015_Q3.

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