Fast Forward

The Fastest-Growing, Highest-Paying Texas Industries

It’s no secret that Texas is dominating job creation in the U.S., despite a still-weak national economy. But what industries are growing fastest, and paying the most?

Let’s define better-than-average wages as pay exceeding the state average of $902 weekly in 2010. We can define industries according to the federal government’s North American Industry Classification System, while growth figures for the years 2006 through 2010 come from statistics maintained by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

Energy Stays Strong

Generally high energy prices helped Texas’ oil and gas-related companies grow rapidly in the fast five years, providing a valuable support for the state during a recessionary period.

Employment in oil and gas extraction rose by 15.6 percent or more than 11,000 jobs between 2006 and 2010, registering the fourth-highest growth among industries in percent terms and fifth-highest by the number of additional jobs created. Average weekly wages of $3,273 in 2010 were the highest among the fastest-growing industries, more than tripling the overall state average.

Related pursuits were buoyed as well. Support activities for mining — the various service companies needed to drill and maintain oil and gas wells — added 9,565 jobs from 2006 to 2010, for a total growth of 9.2 percent. The industry ranked seventh-highest in terms of numerical growth and ninth for percent growth, and produced average weekly wages of $1,639, well above the $902 state average.

Another related industry, pipeline transportation, added 2,123 jobs for a 15.4 percent growth rate, fifth-highest in percentage terms. These jobs paid average wages of $2,497 a week.

It’s also important to note that TWC’s numbers don’t reflect contract workers, who do not receive benefits and typically are not covered in official government estimates. According to David Green, research analyst with the Comptroller’s office, energy companies often use contract workers to contain operating costs in lean fiscal times.

“Including contract workers produces an even brighter picture of overall employment in the oil and gas industry,” Green says.

Medical, Technical Skills Sought

Jobs in health services are another important element in Texas’ employment growth, due mostly to a growing and aging population.

Hospitals in particular are large, rapidly growing employers in the state. According to TWC, hospitals created an additional 41,653 jobs from 2006 to 2010, an 11.5 percent growth rate. Hospitals were the second-biggest source of numerical job growth, and paid an average of $1,015 weekly in 2010.

The largest numerical gain between 2006 and 2001, however, came from professional, scientific and technical services, a broad range of companies that, according to the U.S. Census definition of this category, involve “production processes that are almost wholly dependent on worker skills,” often requiring college degrees.

This industry led all others in increasing job count between 2006 and 2010, generating nearly 44,000 additional positions for total growth of 8.3 percent. The demands of these positions are reflected above-average weekly wages of $1,472 in 2010.

Business and Investment

Another rapid-growth area for jobs was the management of companies and enterprises. This category, something of a catch-all, includes holding companies (companies that exist primarily to invest in other companies) as well as jobs in corporate, subsidiary and regional managing offices that involve services such as accounting, bookkeeping, billing, legal services, marketing, advertising and personnel management.

The category added 23,212 net jobs between 2006 and 2010, and led all others in its rate of growth, expanding by 41.4 percent over five years. It also pays more than twice the average Texas weekly wage, at $1,922.

Employment in financial investment and related activities, including underwriters, brokers, investment advisors and portfolio managers, added 5,310 jobs from 2006 to 2010, for a total growth rate of 12.4 percent. This performance placed the industry on the top 10 list in both numerical and percentage growth. Its average weekly pay of $2,604 in 2010 was nearly three times as high as the average state wage.

Fast Growing, High Paying

Texas leads all other states in job creation. Here are some of the fastest-growing industries paying better-than-average wages.

Industries Adding the Most Jobs in Texas

Top 10 Industries by Total Jobs Added, 2006-10
Description Total TX Employment, 2010 Total TX Employment, 2006 Total Change, 2006-10 Percent Change, 2006-10 Average Weekly Wages, 2010
Professional and Technical Services 571,761 528,069 43,692 8.3% $1,472
Hospitals 402,495 360,842 41,653 11.5% $1,015
Management of Companies and Enterprises 79,306 56,094 23,212 41.4% $1,922
Justice, Public Order, and Safety Activities 221,651 203,729 17,922 8.8% $1,028
Oil and Gas Extraction 81,761 70,709 11,052 15.6% $3,273
Administration of Economic Programs 34,778 24,808 9,971 40.2% $907
Support Activities for Mining 113,391 103,826 9,565 9.2% $1,639
Electronic Markets and Agents/Brokers 62,389 53,503 8,886 16.6% $1,671
Utilities 80,278 74,019 6,259 8.5% $1,417
Financial Investment & Related Activity 48,076 42,766 5,310 12.4% $2,604
State Total 10,187,076 9,917,005 270,071 2.7% $902

Source: Texas Workforce Commission


Fastest-Growing Texas Industries

Top 10 Industries by Percent Increase in Employment, 2006-2010
Description Total Texas Employment, 2010 Total Texas Employment, 2006 Total Change, 2006-10 Percent Change, 2006-10 Average Weekly Wages, 2010
Management of Companies and Enterprises 79,306 56,094 23,212 41.4% $1,922
Administration of Economic Programs 34,778 24,808 9,971 40.2% $907
Electronic Markets and Agents/Brokers 62,389 53,503 8,886 16.6% $1,671
Oil and Gas Extraction 81,761 70,709 11,052 15.6% $3,273
Pipeline Transportation 15,936 13,813 2,123 15.4% $2,497
Performing Arts and Spectator Sports 23,405 20,778 2,627 12.6% $1,260
Financial Investment & Related Activity 48,076 42,766 5,310 12.4% $2,604
Hospitals 402,495 360,842 41,653 11.5% $1,015
Support Activities for Mining 113,391 103,826 9,565 9.2% $1,639
Justice, Public Order, and Safety Activities 221,651 203,729 17,922 8.8% $1,028
State Total 10,187,076 9,917,005 270,071 2.7% $902

Source: Texas Workforce Commission