The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions needed to slow the spread of the virus have caused substantial harm to the economy. Even in the face of significant job losses and output declines, however, the underlying structure is generally sound and long-term prospects remain positive (though the next couple of years will be quite different than what we were expecting before the coronavirus). Looking beyond the immediate horizon, our latest long-term forecasts for job growth in the state's metropolitan areas are on the whole encouraging. Let's take a quick trip around the state.
Economic vitality drives population expansion, particularly migration, and Texas cities are growing rapidly. The US Census Bureau recently released new population data which included estimates for city population changes from July 2017 to July 2018. Much of the time, economic series are tracked for "Metropolitan Statistical Areas," which are normally one or more counties linked to a large central city. While it makes sense from an economic perspective in that these clusters of counties are functioning largely together as an economic unit, slicing the data this way often conceals part of what's going on. For example, the Dallas-Plano-Irving Metropolitan Division is seven counties centered on Dallas and includes several other cities which are growing rapidly.