Earlier this fall, the city of Dallas’ Office of Economic Development posted a curious and eye-catching link on its Facebook page: “Dallas is a top 10 city for affluent residents, says a new study. Overall wealth went up 23.8% between 2012 & 2013.” The OED post linked to a Dallas Morning News post (so many posts!) that reported Dallas was “leading in the growth of high-net-worth individuals and wealth.” Yes! Take that, other cities!
Hang on a second.
The study was done by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management. It didn’t actually compare cities. It compared Census-designated metropolitan statistical areas. So “Dallas” in this instance actually means a 13-county region that includes Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington. To be accurate, then, we should say: take that, other regions!
When you drill down a bit further into the data, the outlook for Dallas isn’t so bright. Let’s forget high-net-worth individuals for the moment. Let’s look at the far more meaningful measures of job and wage growth in Dallas County.
JOB/WAGE GROWTH, U.S. URBAN COUNTIES 2001–2012
To begin with, Dallas County—the most populous county in the fourth-most populous metropolitan region in the United States, a region that saw population growth of 1.2 million people between 2000 and 2010—is losing jobs. A lot of jobs: 215,230 between 2001 and 2012. To put that into the scariest terms, that is nearly a Detroit level of lost jobs. Yes. Detroit.
Between 2001 and 2012, all other suburban counties in our area made enormous gains in job numbers: Parker County, 72.37 percent; Rockwall County, 77.67 percent; Denton County, 58.63 percent. And Collin County—where Toyota is relocating to—gained 51.1 percent.
The outlook is better in terms of wages, but only slightly. Dallas County grew by 2.05 percent. While that is at least positive movement, it’s far below the urbanized county average and ranks ninth to last of all urbanized counties in wage growth. That meager gain can’t make up for the shrinking job numbers. When you look at both numbers together and compare them to those of other urbanized counties around the country, Dallas County is the third-worst-performing county in the United States. The worst-performing is Wayne County, aka Detroit.
If you’re not feeling as though you’ve been kicked in the jeans hard enough, there is more. All of the above leans heavily on research undertaken by our own Patrick Kennedy. For more of his findings, go here.