Texas dominates this year’s edition of Forbes’s Best Cities For Jobs list with the big drivers of growth coming from three basic sectors: energy, technology and manufacturing.
In first place in of the 65 largest metropolitan areas is Austin, which has logged strong growth in manufacturing, technology-related employment and business services. Houston places second, Fort Worth fourth, and Dallas-Plano-Irving sixth.
The state has added some 200,000 generally high-paying oil and gas jobs over the past decade — but Texas is also leading in industrial job growth, technology and services.
The strong growth of the energy sector, and Texas, is even more evident in the overall ranking, which includes many small and medium-sized metropolitan areas. The top 10 fastest growers overall include as No. 1 Odessa, Texas; second-place Midland, Texas; Lafayette, La. (fourth place); Corpus Christi, Texas (sixth), San Angelo, Texas (seventh); and Casper, Wyo. (10th).
The survey, compiled with Pepperdine University’s Michael Shires, found that small and midsized metropolitan areas, with populations of 1 million or less, accounted for 27 of the 30 urban regions in the country that are adding jobs at the fastest rate.
In 2011, for the first time since before the recession, growth in private-sector employment outstripped the public sector. More than half (231) of the 398 metro areas surveyed registered declines in government jobs, with public-sector employment dropping 0.9 percent overall. Meanwhile, private-sector employment expanded 1.4 percent.
Some Texas towns, however, have not proved to be as prosperous. College towns and military towns which had previously done well in the face of the recession have suffered from budget cuts in the last year. College Station, Texas, plummeted from fourth overall in 2010 to 167th, and last year’s overall No. 1, Killeen-Ft. Hood, Texas, slid to 43rd place.