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Leading Locations for 2013: The Southwest MSAs

With 13 of the top 15 regional leaders, Texas is the star player in the Southwest, which also includes Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Since 2010, no state has added more jobs than Texas, and the state continues to attract multibillion-dollar investments across a range of industries.

June 2013
With 13 of the top 15 regional leaders, Texas is the star player in the Southwest, which also includes Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Since 2010, no state has added more jobs than Texas, and the state continues to attract multibillion-dollar investments across a range of industries.

The top five Southwest Leading Locations are in the Lone Star State. Odessa, Texas, ranks first in the region and second among small cities. With an economy fueled by oil and gas, in 2012 Odessa was ranked 95th on Forbes list of small places for business and careers.

Ranking second in the region as well as among big cities is the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, Texas, MSA. Austin is a high-tech mecca and home to the University of Texas. Corporate residents include Dell, IBM, Apple, eBay, and Samsung.

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown follows in third place regionally and among big cities. In November 2012 Texas Instruments announced it would invest $35 million to build a 160,000-square-foot development facility and office complex on a seven-acre site in Sugar Land, creating an estimated 375 jobs.

Two Oklahoma cities also appear on the list of the Southwest’s Leading Locations — Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Fifth among the leading big cities, Oklahoma City is the state capital and also home to Tinker Air Force Base. The government and aviation sectors drive economic growth, as does the food processing, healthcare, and energy-related sectors.

The oil and gas sectors also drive growth in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Tulsa area’s largest industry is the aviation/aerospace sector. And the inland Port of Catoosa has made the city a major distribution hub.

    • City
    • State
    • 2010
    • Overall
    • 1.
    • Odessa
    • TX
    • 137,130
    • 4
    • Odessa  , TXLocated in the energy-rich Permian Basin, Odessa's economy is fueled by oil and gas — especially from unconventional shale plays. Oil and gas companies include Halliburton, Weatherford CPS, and Holloman Construction. Recent announcements include Chevron's plans to build a $100 million campus and Pioneer Natural Resources' plans for a $50 million office building.

      The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and Odessa College all play important roles in expanding the energy and healthcare sectors in Odessa, including research into wind, solar, clean coal, and nuclear energy technologies.

      In 2012 Odessa placed 95th on Forbes list of the best small places for business and careers. Although the Odessa economy grew at the torrid pace of 14.4 percent in 2012, the growth rate is expected to be closer to 6 percent this year. The improved economy has stimulated a number of construction projects in the city, including three new elementary schools, $68 million in capital improvements, and new science and nursing buildings at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin; a new engineering building is also being discussed.
    • 2.
    • Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos
    • TX
    • 1,716,289
    • 5
    • Austin, TXKey industries in the Austin MSA are advanced manufacturing, electronics, multimedia technology, clean energy and power technology, life science and biotechnology, and data centers. According to the Brookings Institution, Austin ranked first overall among the 100 largest U.S. metros based on amount recovered from pre-recession peak to the present, based on jobs, unemployment, gross product, and housing prices. Further, Austin placed second on the 2012 Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index.

      Much of this economic growth is driven by improved performance in chip-making and systems design. Dell, IBM, Apple, and Samsung are among the largest technology employers. Backed by a $21 million investment through the Texas Enterprise Fund and an $8.6 million grant from the city of Austin, Apple will undertake a $304 million expansion of its facilities, eventually creating 3,600 well-paying jobs. Samsung's $4 billion expansion of its semiconductor manufacturing operations will increase its total investment in Austin to $13 billion since 1996. GM plans to build a 500-employee innovation center and eBay, another major Austin employer, will hire about 1,000 software engineers over the next 10 years.

      With this kind of growth in high-technology fields, it is no surprise that Austin has also recently been named by the Business Journals as one of the top three cities for young adults to establish careers in post-recessionary America.
    • 3.
    • Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown
    • TX
    • 5,946,800
    • 10
    • 4.
    • Midland
    • TX
    • 136,872
    • 12
    • Midland, TXAccording to the United States Census Bureau, the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the country is Midland, with a 4.6 percent increase in population between July 2011 and July 2012. Located 300 miles west of Dallas, Midland is in the Permian Basin, where deep horizontal drilling has created another oil and gas rush.

      With a booming energy economy, plans are under way for the "Energy Tower" — a 53-story skyscraper that will be the sixth-tallest building in Texas and include offices, residential space, shopping, dining, and a five-star hotel. Midland will also be the headquarters for XCOR Aerospace's new commercial spaceflight and R&D center. XCOR manufactures reusable rocket engines for major aerospace prime contractors and is the designer, manufacturer, and operator of the Lynx, a fully reusable, high-performance suborbital space vehicle that is designed to safely carry two persons or scientific experiments to the edge of space and back.

      "XCOR's Research and Development Center headquarters will add economic diversity to Midland, along with $12 million in new payroll and capital investment over the next five years and an estimated average annual wage of over $60,000 per job," says Laura Roman, chairman of the Midland Development Corporation.
    • 5.
    • Corpus Christi
    • TX
    • 428,185
    • 15
    • 6.
    • Oklahoma City
    • OK
    • 1,252,987
    • 16
    • 7.
    • Dallas-Plano-Irving (Metropolitan Division)
    • TX
    • 4,235,751
    • 18
    • 8.
    • Waco
    • TX
    • 234,906
    • 22
    • 9.
    • Tulsa
    • OK
    • 937,478
    • 25
    • 10.
    • Fort Worth-Arlington (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • TX
    • 2,136,022
    • 29
    • 11.
    • Tyler
    • TX
    • 209,714
    • 31
    • 12.
    • San Angelo
    • TX
    • 111,823
    • 36
    • 13.
    • San Antonio-New Braunfels
    • TX
    • 2,142,508
    • 48
    • 14.
    • Amarillo
    • TX
    • 249,881
    • 49
    • 15.
    • Victoria
    • TX
    • 115,384
    • 59

Leading Locations for 2013 Results

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