Workforce Expansion | The Perryman Group

Workforce Expansion

By: Dr. M. Ray Perryman
Published in syndication February 21, 2024

Maintaining a dynamic economy requires a constant flow of talented and skilled workers. With US long-term demographic patterns working against us, it's clear that it will be crucial to attract workers from other areas. While one imperative component of this effort must involve immigration from other countries, a significant additional factor that helps to define regional performance is movement from state to state.

Texas has long been attracting people from other areas (since the days of the Republic, in fact) for a variety of reasons including economic opportunities, lower cost of living, and no income taxes. A recent study by Zillow took a look at patterns for the age range commonly called Gen Z, which they defined as those of working age born between about 1996 and 2004 (college students moving for school were excluded).

Texas attracted far more Gen Z movers in 2022 than any other state, with about 76,800 on a net basis (those moving in minus those moving out). Next was California, with just over 43,900, followed by Florida, North Carolina, Washington, and Colorado. The California result was notable in that the state (unlike Texas and Florida) has been losing residents by the hundreds of thousands annually of late.

The fact that Gen Z is headed to Texas is good news for the state's capacity to continue to expand. The key to net in-migration from other states is the opportunities Texas offers. The state has been adding jobs at a strong pace, with no end in sight, and has also landed more major corporate locations and expansions than any other annually for more than a decade. Both long-time core industries and rapidly emerging sectors are expanding. It's a great place to build a career, and working-age Gen Zers have clearly noticed.

In addition, it's easier to afford a desirable house and enjoyable lifestyle in Texas than in many parts of the country. I wrote recently about how much less expensive housing is in the Lone Star State, whether apartment rentals or housing purchases. Thus, the options for financial success and building wealth are aided not only by career prospects, but also by a lower cost of living and an attractive tax structure.

The influx of workers enables more robust economic expansion, which generates even greater opportunities. To keep the flow coming and perpetuate positive prospects, Texas should continue doing the things that are working--supporting industry growth and expansion. Simultaneously, it's crucial to invest in the infrastructure needed to support a growing population and its quality of life (from world class education and training to highways to broadband to parks) and to avoid divisive legislation that discourages younger and highly skilled residents. Stay safe!