Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges of the North Texas Economy | United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges of the North Texas Economy

North Texas is full of contrasts. Our regional economy often leads the nation in areas like job growth and corporate relocations. But not everyone benefits from that prosperity—and we receive poor marks in metrics such as child poverty and living wages. Over the last year, the coronavirus has intensified many of our regional challenges.

These and other important topics were central to last week’s The State of the Regional Economy event, presented by United Way Women of Tocqueville, a United Way of Metropolitan Dallas giving society. The event included an overview of the North Texas economy from Mike Rosa, Senior Vice President of Economic Development at the Dallas Regional Chamber, followed by a fireside chat with three Women of Tocqueville members:

State of the Regional Economy

Speakers for State of the Regional Economy, RECAP

Led by the event chair, Mandy Austin, Dallas Market President of Bank of Texas and member of the Women of Tocqueville Steering Committee, the speakers explored some of the major trends that are playing out in our regional economy:

NORTH TEXAS IS AN ECONOMIC POWERHOUSE

Rosa opened the event on a positive note, highlighting some of the incredible growth trends that North Texas has seen in recent years. Key points included:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth added 1.2 million people to its population between 2010 and 2019.
  • DFW was the No. 1 metropolitan area in the nation for job growth in 2019, adding 128,000 jobs.
  • DFW is currently home to 30 percent of the Fortune 10.
  • DFW is home to 31 percent of Texas’ technology jobs and 32 percent of Texas’ manufacturing jobs.

DFW HAS WEATHERED THE PANDEMIC RELATIVELY WELL


Of course, the coronavirus pandemic has been a challenge for our economy, as well as the state as a whole. However, Rosa pointed out that our region’s strong position heading into 2020 helped mitigate some of the economic damage. Here’s a look at how DFW has performed during the pandemic:

  • Last year, DFW’s percentage job loss of 2.1 percent was lower than other similarly sized U.S. regions.
  • Despite many job losses, DFW added jobs in trade, transportation, financial activities, professional and business services over the last year.
  • More growth is on the horizon, with 93 companies considering a move or expansion to DFW.

OUR COMMUNITY FACES SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES

Rosa also acknowledged that despite the positive statistics, he and the Dallas Regional Chamber are well aware of the challenges and inequities our region faces, many of which have been made worse by the pandemic. However, he said, “being in our state and our region, considering the prosperity we’ve been able to accomplish, gives us a real fighting chance to attack some of these issues and for people to be able to give and to engage, and for organizations like ours…to make this a better place going forward.”

“being in our state and our region, considering the prosperity we’ve been able to accomplish, gives us a real fighting chance to attack some of these issues and for people to be able to give and to engage, and for organizations like ours…to make this a better place going forward.”

– Mike Rosa
Senior Vice President of Economic Development
Dallas Regional Chamber

TOGETHER, WE CAN ADVANCE THE COMMON GOOD

Sampson, Motsenbocker and McKinney each emphasized the importance of our community members coming together, united, to ensure all North Texans, regardless of race or ZIP code, have the opportunity and access to reach their full potential.

As a community, we can work toward the Aspire United 2030 goals, a set of 10-year goals to drive transformative change and advance racial equity in the areas of education, income and health in North Texas.

We must come together as a community to work toward these goals, because as Sampson stressed, 2030 will be here before we know it. “When you think about it, the babies of 2020 will be the third graders of 2030. And we want every one of them to be living in a racially equitable community where they are reading proficiently and the only thing they are hungry for is more learning,” she said. “The third graders of today are going to be the high school graduates of 2030. And we want every one of them to be living in a racially equitable society, ready for success in the next stage of their lives and prepared to take on the world in college or a career with a living-wage job. The high school seniors of today are going to be a significant part of the workforce in 2030—and the parents of the next generation of young children. And we want all of them to be living in a racially equitable society with resources to invest in their family’s financial independence and economic mobility.”

Motsenbocker pointed out that the financial services industry in North Texas is clearly an important sector in our community. “I think we have a ripe opportunity,” she said. “My call to action is, first and foremost, do what you can do to get personally engaged. It may mean sign on to the Aspire United 2030 goals, giving money or doing both. But do what you can do. Encourage your company to get involved in meaningful ways that really drive change.”

McKinney agreed, calling on attendees to cast a wide net to connect critical resources to the community where they’re needed. “I encourage everyone out there in the financial sector to look at how our giving is uniquely aligned to support education, income and health—because if we don’t have a community that is healthy, then they certainly can’t be on the path to education and income and jobs,” she said.

Daughter on shoulders of father Live United

BE PART OF THE CHANGE

Daughter on shoulders of father Live United

At United Way, we believe in the power of unity to create lasting change. We’re leading the charge to improve education, income and health—the building blocks of opportunity—for all North Texans.

Ready to be part of the change? Here are two easy ways to get involved:

Together, we can make sure North Texan continues to be the best place for all of us to live, work and raise families.

Learn More

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This article was published on: Mar 1, 2021