About three of every four new jobs are created in one of Texas’ six largest metropolitan areas, with almost half of new jobs generated in the Dallas and Houston areas alone.

The Perryman Group’s latest forecast for the state’s population centers indicates moderate growth over the next five years, with the Austin area setting the pace.

The Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) economy continues to outperform both the state and the nation. The recent rate of job growth has been leading the state, and the area continues to compare well with most parts of the United States in terms of economic performance. Our forecast indicates strong growth in real gross product of 4.42 percent per year through 2020 (an increase of $27.2 billion), with an addition of 127,656 jobs over the period (a 2.49 percent yearly rate). The population is expected to expand at a 2.1 percent pace during the next five years.

The Dallas-Plano-Irving Metropolitan Division (MD) economy added an impressive number of jobs over the past year, setting the stage for future growth. The area continues to benefit from relocations, expansions, and major projects, and we are projecting that the area will see 296,012 jobs added by 2020 (a growth rate of 2.3 percent per annum). Output (real gross product) is forecast to grow at a yearly rate of 4.26 percent, increasing by $80.6 billion over the next five years.

The Fort Worth-Arlington MD is somewhat more vulnerable to the energy industry than the Austin or Dallas areas, and has seen various negative effects with the end of the oil surge. Even so, some industries have seen significant expansion, offsetting losses in the construction and mining and logging sectors. Through 2020, the Fort Worth-Arlington MD is forecast to see gains in real gross product at a 4.25 percent yearly rate, for an overall increase of $27.9 billion. Nearly 112,800 jobs are projected to be added, representing 2.10 percent per annum growth.

Economic conditions in the El Paso MSA have been improving, with thousands of jobs added over the past year. The largest gains have been occurring in professional and business services, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality. El Paso output (real gross product) is forecast to increase at a 3.54 percent rate through 2020, for a gain of more than $5.1 billion. During the same period, wage and salary employment is likely to grow by over 33,200 jobs, a 1.91 percent per annum gain.

The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA has struggled due to lower oil prices, but other aspects of the diversified economy are mitigating the negative effects of the energy slowdown. Job gains in leisure and hospitality, education and health services, and government segments have been offsetting heavy losses in manufacturing, mining, and financial services. Through 2020, our forecast indicates output (real gross product) expansion at a 4.31 percent pace, for a gain of nearly $115.9 billion. Wage and salary employment is projected to increase by close to 359,300 jobs over the period (a 2.22 percent yearly pace). The pace of growth is expected to pick up during the next several years, and economic gains are concentrated in the latter years of the forecast horizon.

The San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA has recently experienced spotty growth, with some industries growing and some shedding jobs. The region continues to attract locations in emerging technology industries, including a large data center recently announced, as well as maintaining a stable base of cornerstone industries such as health care, manufacturing, and tourism. The San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA is projected to experience growth in output at a 3.90 percent per year rate through 2020. More than 112,000 net new jobs are expected to be created, while population increases by about 201,000 by 2020.

The state’s 20 other MSAs are projected to account for just over 17 percent of total job gains in Texas during the next five years. The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission and Tyler MSAs are expected to see job growth at a rate outpacing the state, with Brownsville-Harlingen, Laredo, and Abilene also likely to experience employment expansion at relatively healthy rates. Although we expect Midland and Odessa to begin to recover in the later years of the forecast timeline, the end of the oil surge is clearly stifling growth.