A variety of data on the Fort Worth-Arlington Metropolitan Division (ie. the Fort Worth side of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex) economy show an ongoing boom. According to Current Employment Survey (CES) data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), total wage and salary employment in the Fort Worth Metropolitan Division was 16,200 (1.9%) higher in June 2012 than it had been in June 2011. Although that is slightly slowdown from the previous 12 months, this is mostly the result of a year-over-year decrease of 6,900 jobs (7.1%) in Local Government. Private sector employment is up a stronger 22,700 jobs (3.0%) year-over-year in the year to June 2012, following a near equal increase in the year to June 2011. According to household-based data from the BLS on the number of employed residents of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Division, moreover, the more recent year-over-year increase is larger at 27,800 (2.8%). This figure includes the self-employed and commuters to the Dallas side of the Metroplex. The labor force was up by 17,600 (1.6%) in the year to June according to the BLS, and the overall population will rise by 22,900 (2.6%) during all of 2012 according to Moody’s Economy.com.
The office-based sectors took the lead in the Fort Worth area in year-over-year job growth as of June according to CES data, with the Financial Activities sector up by 2,700 jobs (5.1%) and Professional and Business Services jobs up by 4,400 (4.5%), including a gain of 1,500 (6.2%) in the Employment services industry which includes temporary workers. The office-based sectors account for a relatively small share of total employment in blue collar Fort Worth, with a relatively large share in the industrial sectors. These continued to add jobs in the most recent June-to- June period, as the Wholesale Trade sector added 1,600 jobs (4.0%), the Transportation and Utilities added 1,300 (2.1%), and the Manufacturing sector added 800 jobs (0.9%).
Within the latter sector, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram “GE Manufacturing Solutions has begun hiring and training employees for its new mining equipment and locomotive manufacturing operations in far north Fort Worth.” The jobs will pay $17.00 per hour. The mining equipment expansion shows the influence of the national natural gas boom on the economy. In fact, Natural Resources, Mining and Construction is now the fastest growing sector in metro Fort Worth with a gain of 4,100 jobs (7.5%). Synonymous with Construction alone in other areas, here the mining sector may be responsible for most of the growth.
Consumer-driven sectors are adding jobs, but at a slower pace. Retail Trade was up by 1,200 jobs (1.2%) year-over-year in June, and Leisure and Hospitality was up by 3,600 (3.7%). This is not a high income area, although household average income was up 2.6% year-over-year in the second quarter.