The economic upheaval of 2020 impacted all corners of Texas. As centers of employment, the largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) experienced the bulk of the heavy losses as the state responded to the COVID-19 crisis. About 79.3% of 1.4 million jobs lost between February and April 2020 were concentrated in the state's six largest MSAs. However, recovery is ongoing, with the pace varying depending on industrial composition and other factors. Let's briefly explore the current status of the state's primary population centers and my latest economic projections.
Austin-Round Rock was the fastest growing large metropolitan area in the United States over the past decade. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics recently looked at the percent change in employment for metropolitan areas with a 2010 population of at least one million, and Austin-Round Rock topped the list with 43.1% expansion. Between December 2009 and November 2019, all 51 of the largest US metropolitan areas saw employment increases, but the rates of growth varied dramatically from the rapid pace in Austin-Round Rock down to just 5.7% in Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Connecticut.
Texas' smaller metropolitan areas will likely be the source for one of every six net new jobs over the long term, and are an important contributor to overall economic growth. These 20 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) range in population size from less than 100,000 to almost 850,000 residents, serving as centers for business activity for the surrounding smaller communities and rural areas.
Texas' largest metropolitan areas are set for relatively healthy growth over a long-term horizon. Business cycles will happen, but when we look out through 2040, the state's major population centers are likely to continue to compare well with most parts of the country in terms of economic expansion. The Austin and Dallas areas should lead the way, with Houston, San Antonio, and Fort Worth also doing quite well. For reference, our most recent long-term forecast for the state economy indicates that Texas output (real gross product) will likely expand at a 3.35% annual pace through 2040, while total wage and salary employment grows at a 1.64% yearly pace.