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Texas Staffing in 2015: Will We Keep the Pace?

The Texas staffing landscape is as diverse as the land itself. However, from whatever vantage point you choose, things continue to look up for 2015. Here’s a look at the major locations and industries affecting the job market in the New Year.

Inside and outside Houston: What the frack will happen?

Houston will be hot in 2015. At least it is according to studies like Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2015. According to the survey Houston was ranked the number one city in the U.S. in both investment and development expectations for 2015. That also means no shortage of jobs. The biggest employment opportunities on the horizon center on the energy industry, of course. Exxon Mobile’s new state-of-the-art campus is expected to house approximately 10,000 employees in the coming months. New headquarters for Phillips 66 and Occidental Petroleum will also sweeten Houston’s job market.

Head a bit east of Houston and you’ll see oil and gas will keep employment pumping through 2015 as well.

“The big driver for Beaumont will be the start of construction of Natgasoline, LLC (OCI), which is a Greenfield methanol plant and the first of its size in the United States. Approximate investment is $1 billion and they anticipate more than 3,000 construction jobs, 240 permanent jobs and thousands of temporary jobs,” says Jim Rich, president of the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce.

But perhaps the most impressive piece of the Texas staffing puzzle in this industry will continue to be statewide drilling and fracking. According to Dr. M. Ray Perryman of The Perryman Group and the International Institute for Advanced Studies, the North Texas Barnett Shale alone has brought $11.8 billion in gross product per year and more than 107,650 permanent jobs. Perryman estimates the total contribution of the Barnett Shale over the next 10 years (2014 through 2023) will include $153.4 billion in gross product and more than 1.3 million person-years of employment.

The Eagle Ford Shale south of San Antonio and the Cline Shale running northwest from San Angelo are also centers of activity.  In fact, it’s a previously untapped area along the Eagle Ford that is given credit for pushing Texas oil production ahead of Iraq. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Texas oil production is likely to exceed the output of every country in the world except Saudi Arabia by the end of 2014. The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) researchers concluded that, in 2013, shale activity supported almost 155,000 full-time equivalent jobs and provided more than $4.4 billion to local and state governments.


“Building” Austin jobs

The Austin staffing picture, as you may have guessed, remains strong for 2015. According to the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank (Dallas Fed), Austin’s October payroll employment grew at an annual rate of 1.6 percent. The unemployment rate continued to fall, dropping to 4.1 percent, which is an entire percentage point below the statewide rate. However, these jobs may not be coming from the industries you would expect:

  • Public sector hiring is outpacing the private sector for the first time since May (although public sector hiring has contracted overall in the past 3 months).
  • Professional and business services grew at a 4.6 percent rate despite recent weakness in hiring for scientific and technical services.
  • Construction industry hiring grew more than 20 percent between August and October 2014.

According to the Dallas Fed report, steady demand for Austin housing and office space in recent years means construction is likely to remain one of the strongest industries in 2015. Although these numbers don’t lie, many of them are related. The construction industry is booming for a reason: More companies are moving into Austin offering professional, business, technology and other jobs. The State of Texas Office of the Governor considers the opening of Apple’s Americas Operation Center in Austin one of the biggest expansion stories of the year.

“The company is in the process of hiring 3,600 new employees, which will roughly double Apple’s Austin workforce and make the Texas capital one of the company’s largest bases of operations,” according to the Office the Governor.

With HID Global, athenahealth, Dropbox, Rackspace, Websence, Interactions Corp. and others planning to add thousands of IT jobs collectively to the Austin market as well, expect competition for tech workers to remain strong.


DFW proves it’s made of more than finance jobs

The Dallas-Fort Worth staffing picture is perhaps the most broad-based among the major Texas metros. Take a look at the Office of the Governor’s report and you’ll see large employers form a wide variety of industries moving into the DFW area including high tech, aerospace and aviation, energy, advanced manufacturing, and food processing.

According to the Dallas Fed, employment growth in trade, transportation and utilities (the largest

sector), construction and mining, and financial activities led the way for a total annual job growth rate of 5.4 percent as of October. Vigorous job creation and a decline in the unemployment rate have contributed to gains in the business cycle indexes (constructed using payroll employment, the unemployment rate, inflation-adjusted real wages and inflation-adjusted retail sales) for both Dallas and Fort Worth.

So many strong industries and diverse areas (including Plano, Arlington and others), you can expect DFW to remain strong in staffing for 2015. Perhaps the sleeping giant in the equation could be “FW” of DFW. Fort Worth was recently identified as the fastest growing big city in America since 2000 edging out Charlotte, North Carolina and, yes, even Austin (coming in at third place). Fort Worth’s population has increased by 42.3 percent from 534,694 to 761,092 in that 14-year period.

“When looking at why DFW is bringing in thousands of new residents every year, the refrain remains the same from several sources: jobs, jobs, jobs,” notes Dallas Business Journal’s Korri Kezar.

“Being home to 18 Fortune 500 companies across a variety of sectors and an attractive hub for businesses such as Toyota looking to relocate, it’s no wonder people are flocking to DFW.”

The new Toyota Motor North America headquarters in Plano is expected to create nearly 4,000 new jobs once it’s completed. “That means the carmaker’s move alone has the potential to draw in more than three times the number of people who moved to Memphis between 2000 and 2013,” states Kezar.

However you slice it, Texas staffing is looking great in 2015. What’s your staffing story for 2015? We’d love to know!


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