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Workforce is the lifeblood of any company. Without skilled and readily available workers, an organization cannot adapt to the ever-changing business climate, much less grow and thrive in their chosen market. Therefore, information on labor cost, quality, and availability is crucial to making smart decisions about your development project.

Workforce in Dallas
Education and Training
The Dallas Labor Pool
A Statistical Portrait of Dallas' Workforce
Workforce in the Development Process
Workforce Links

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Workforce in Dallas
Dallas is the eighth largest city in the United States - and its ever-expanding population provides the backbone for the city's growing workforce. The highest concentration of workers in the Dallas metropolitan area is found in the city itself, and the North Central Texas Council of Governments projects that the Dallas Central Business District will continue to be the number one employment center in the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area for the next 25 years.

Education and Training
Employers reap the benefits of excellent elementary and secondary schools and an expansive system of higher education. Post-secondary students in Dallas are provided with a wide range of options, including community colleges, private and public universities, and job training institutions. Six school districts and more than 45 private institutions serve the area's children, preparing them to enroll in any of the 31 colleges and universities located within a 30-mile radius of downtown Dallas.

Edmund J. Kahn Job Training Center
The Job Training Center at the Bill J. Priest Institute for Economic Development offers basic skills/GED preparation, job specific training and skills enhancement or new skills training through continuing education courses. Short-term programs prepare students for entry-level positions as accounting clerks, word processing office assistants, medical office clerks and data entry operators. Job Training Partnership Act funds and Texas Public Education grants are available, based on need, for qualifying students enrolled in certificate programs.

Business Performance Improvement Services
The Business Performance Improvement Services at Bill J. Priest offers contract training programs tailored to meet the requirements of a particular company. The training programs are conducted at times and locations convenient to the organization. Programmed courses are available in Continuous Quality Improvement, Total Quality Management, ISO 9000 Registration Training, Supplier Training, Benchmarking and customized computer training.

Smart Jobs
A "smart job" is defined by the State of Texas as a demand occupation that is in the growth mode. The Texas Department of Economic Development's Smart Jobs grant program offers funding to small business and minority employers for the purpose of training their employees in high-skill, high-wage jobs in high-demand occupations - up to $2,500 per eligible employee. The grant is given to the employer, who can choose whether to do the training in-house or hire an outside firm or contractor.

The Bill J. Priest Institute for Economic Development offers free application assistance for this program.

Dallas has a growing pool of qualified labor
While Sales and Marketing Management's 1997 estimate of the city of Dallas population is 1,043,100, the North Central Texas Council of Government's (NCTCOG) January 1, 1998, estimate is 1,052,300. Regardless of which figure you use, Dallas is the ninth largest city in the United States - and its ever-expanding population provides the backbone for the city's growing workforce.

The labor force participation rate indicates the percentage of the Dallas population active in the civilian workforce. More than 35,000 workers have been added to the Dallas civilian labor force over the past four years. This is roughly a 6 percent increase since 1995.

Major Employment Centers in Dallas
The Dallas Central Business District (CBD) Downtown employment now exceeds 120,000 workers, which represents over 18 percent of the total city of Dallas labor force and is expected to be the number one employment center in the Dallas/Fort Worth CMSA over the next 15 years.The North Central Texas Council of Governments estimates job growth for the following submarket areas in Dallas (top 10 ranked by total employment estimates for 2020):

Market Area
% Increase
CBD - Downtown
North Central Corridor-Upper
CBD - Uptown
Park Central
Red Bird Industrial Park
Love Field
North Central Corridor - Center
Central Stemmons Corridor
Trinity Industrial District

Source: NCTCOG Research and Information Services, October 1996

Dallas Compared to State of Texas Occupational Profile
The Dallas workforce is comparable to the rest of the state in terms of current employment distribution. The occupational profile of the city of Dallas workforce is similar to the state distribution overall. Dallas has a slightly higher percentage of administrative and managerial workers, professional specialties, sales occupations and machine operators and assemblers.

City of Dallas 1999(%)
Wholesale/Retail Trade
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate
Tranportation, Communications & Utilities

Source: Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce

Average Annual Pay For Large Metropolitan Areas
The Dallas PMSA workforce is well paid, compared to the other major metropolitan areas in the United States, and its high levels of training, educational attainment and work experience provide a significant low-cost advantage.

Comparative Wage Index (by County)

Metropolitan Area (PMSA)
New York, NY
Los Angeles, CA
Santa Clara, CA
Dallas, TX
Maricopa, AZ
Harris, TX
Orange, CA
49, 918
San Diego, CA
King, WA
Cook, IL

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Attainment in Dallas (age 25 and over)

Education Level
Less than 9th grade
High School (without diploma)
High School diploma/GED
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Graduate/Professional Degree

Source: Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce

New Jobs
Since 1990, almost one in six new jobs (more than 167,000) in Texas has been created in the Dallas metropolitan area. The wholesale/retail trade and services sectors have produced the most new jobs in the Dallas PMSA. In fact, employment in services roughly doubled from 1980 to 1990. The percentages of manufacturing and finance/insurance/real estate jobs have remained stable since 1991.

Commuting to Work
Any location in Dallas is convenient to the qualified labor force. Dallas workers average 24 minutes' travel time to work. The 1990 census data reports that most workers in Dallas (87.7%) drive to work (including driving alone and carpooling). Significantly fewer workers use public transportation (6.7%) or other means (5.6%) to commute to work including walking, bicycling and working at home.
Workers' modes of travel are changing due to the DART light rail line, which opened in June 1996. The 20-mile light rail starter system extends into South Oak Cliff, West Oak Cliff and North Dallas from the Downtown Dallas transitway mall; each weekday, an average of 36,300 people ride the DART light rail.

Other State/Federal Employer Resources
Labor Laws
Unemployment Insurance Taxes
Employment Taxes
Worker's Compensation Insurance
Immigration Hiring
Minimum Wage Requirements
State Safety and Health Rules
Private Pension and Welfare Plans
Texas Workforce Commission's excellent guide for Texas Employers

Miscellaneous Requirements, Acts, and Guidelines
Family and Medical Leave Act
Americans with Disabilities Act
Employee Polygraph Protection Act
Plant Closing Laws
Veteran's Reemployment Rights
Garnishment of Wages

Points to Remember about Workforce in the Development Process
Things to consider when evaluating human resources in a location

One of the greatest challenges facing companies today is finding the right people for the job. In a tight labor market, a growing company has several options for solving employee shortage problems:

  • Expansion
  • Relocation
  • Consolidation
  • Outsourcing

A great company wants to be recognized by current and prospective employees. It takes more than high wages to do it. Employees also evaluate several other factors:

  • Challenging workplace environment
  • Opportunities to advance/improve skills
  • Location/ease of commute to work
  • Recruiting methods
  • Benefits and other non-wage compensation
  • Company community involvement record
  • Corporate/organization culture

By the same token, companies looking for a new location need to be able to evaluate their potential workforce. Certain industries may value some factors over others, but there are global concerns about workforce that need to be addressed in order to make a fair assessment:

  • Quality
    Educational attainment
    Basic skills
  • Training and education
    Number and structure of vocational programs
    Quality and quantity of continuing education in the area
    Existence of special training programs for semi-skilled workers
  • Cost
    Average salaries by occupational classification
  • Market
    Competitor practices concerning non-wage benefits
    Reputation of co-competitors
    Recruitment practices
    Work environment
  • Demand
    Growth (industry and occupational)
    Number of expansions
  • Supply
    Number of college graduates per year
    Number of qualified entry-level candidates
    Number of experienced personnel
    Number of technicians and/or professional candidates
  • Quality of life
    Crime rate
    Cost of living
    Housing supply and affordability
  • Labor laws
    Occupational regulations
    Unemployment insurance
    Worker's compensation
  • Unions
    Percentage of unionized workers
    Union activity (within an industry)
  • Ask state employment bureaus and personnel agencies to provide information on average wages and benefits for a wide range of occupational classifications. You also need to take into consideration local procedures regarding benefits, because employees will expect similar treatment from companies in the area.
  • Obtaining information about the type and location of labor in a given area is a vital part of site development. The Census Bureau, local councils of government, and local employment agencies can help you obtain data on the number of qualified workers live within commuting distance of your company, un- and under-employment in the area, and part-time/seasonal workers.
  • Make contact with state employment agencies. Ask them for statistical data on employees, such as turnover, absenteeism, productivity, and loyalty rates.
  • The National Labor Relations Board is a reliable source of information on union activity, members, and management styles in your proposed area. Inquire about union elections and officials, as well as work stoppage statistics for your particular industry and locale.

Workforce Links

Employment Rates
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Unemployment Insurance
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Education and Training
Universities and Colleges
Training Programs
Wages and Salaries
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