Daniel Fisher @ The Forbes:
Earlier this month, Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a quick tour of California to remind business owners that life’s a whole lot easier in the Lone Star State. Perry’s California critics called him “Governor Oops” for his miscues during the presidential debates, and Gov. Jerry Brown dismissed the Texan’s recruiting drive as “not a burp,” and barely even a certain bodily release of gas.
Laugh away, Californians. But Perry is playing the stronger hand here. Texas trounced the rest of the country our latest survey of the Best Cities for Good Jobs, with five metropolitan areas in the Top Ten, including the four best cities to find jobs in the next few years.
This year’s winner is Dallas, which shrugged off the Nov. 2011 bankruptcy of American Airlines parent AMR Corp. to rack up 2.1% job growth last year and is projected to continue adding jobs at a 2.8% rate through 2019 – more than 300,000 on top of the 2.1 million already in Dallas and its Plano and Irving suburbs.
“The explanation is we have an incredibly diversified economy,” said Bernard Weinstein, who’s been tracking the north Texas economy since 1975 and is associate director of Southern Methodist University‘s McGuire Energy Institute. “As the national economy improves, we’re getting better.”
To construct this list, Forbes gathered data from Moody’s Analytics on the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. We then ranked the cities according to recent and expected job growth, current unemployment rate, and current and expected per-capita income. We threw out cities with high unemployment rates or that are clearly rebounding from severe economic distress, such as Stockton, Calif., which came in first on 2012 job growth at 3.7% but still sports a 14% unemployment rate. We also gave increased weight to areas with high and growing per-capita incomes, to avoid steering people to cities that are adding lots of low-wage jobs. A description of the methodology is here.
The Moody’s data show that Texans didn’t suffer as much in the financial crisis, and they’re doing much better now. The Texas unemployment rate rose from below 5% in 2007 all the way to a little above 8% in 2010, but now it’s falling back down again to a current 6.2%. The U.S. unemployment rate peaked at 10% and is still stuck at about 8%, with states like California, Illinois and New York well above that.
“You’ve got these two economic powerhouses, Texas and California, and you have to ask why we are outperforming,” Weinstein said. “It’s a real testament to the diversity and strength of our economy, that through good times and bad we are outperforming the nation.”