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Dallas: Economy


Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Dallas boasts a broadly diverse business climate, with technological industries in the lead. Major industries include defense, financial services, information technology and data, life sciences, semiconductors, telecommunications, transportation, and processing. According to the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex holds about 43 percent of the state's high-tech workers. Further, 13 privately-held companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenues are headquartered in the area. Among the 19 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the area are Advance PCS, Dean Foods, ExxonMobil, Kimberly-Clark, Neiman Marcus, Southwest Airlines, and Texas Instruments.

Dubbed the "Silicon Prairie," Dallas is among the country's largest employment centers for high technology. In addition, Dallas is known as a center for telecommunications manufacturing employment in the United States. The Telecom Corridor is an area in Richardson, Texas, north of Dallas. Its nickname is in recognition of the proliferation of telecommunications companies in a small section of the community. The area is a strip about three miles long on Highway 75, north of Interstate 635; Nortel, Ericsson, Alcatel, Southwestern Bell and other telecom companies call the area home.

Real estate and tourism are other major industry sectors in Dallas.

Items and goods produced: chemicals and allied products, electronic components, parts for defense and airline industries, machinery, transportation equipment, and food products

Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies

Local programs

Tax Increment Finance Districts (TIFs) are designated areas targeted for development, redevelopment, and improvements. Increases in tax revenues from new development and higher real estate values are paid into TIF funds to finance improvements. Public Improvement Districts (PIDs) are created at the request of property owners in the district, who pay a supplemental tax which is used for services beyond existing city services, such as marketing, security, landscaping, and other improvements. There are seven TIFs and five areas designated as PIDs in Dallas.

State programs

State-designated Enterprise Zone Projects may be eligible for state sales or use tax refunds of taxes paid for building materials, machinery and equipment for use in the enterprise zone. Other state sales tax refunds and franchise tax refunds or reductions are available to qualified businesses in state-designated enterprise zones. Classification by the Public Utilities Commission as a qualified business in a state designated enterprise zone may qualify the business for up to a 5 percent reduction on electric utility rate upon negotiation with local electric utility service provider.

Job training programs

The Greater Dallas Chamber promotes economic opportunities for all women through a series of seminars and training sessions. The College for Texans statewide campaign launched in the fall of 2002 by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) works to send more Texans to college, training them for the workforce beyond. Through this program, GO Centers, a grassroots network of community-managed college recruiting centers, serve as primary points of coordination between the campaign efforts and local communities. Leadership Dallas is a program that trains business leaders in community responsibility through discussion of issues, consideration of options, and first-hand exploration of the needs and concerns of the Greater Dallas Region.

Development Projects

The Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Airport has invested $2.7 billion in its five-year Capital Development Program (CPD), which includes a two million square foot international terminal with an integrated Grand Hyatt Hotel and a high-speed train. Airfield, roadway, and airport infrastructure support projects make up the rest of the program. The development program is expected to generate an estimated $34 billion impact on the North Texas economy and create 77,000 new jobs during the next 15 years. Currently, DFW has more than 2.6 million square feet of cargo facilities.

Among the city's seven Tax Increment Finance Districts (TIFs) is the City Center TIF at the historic center of downtown Dallas. With a budget of nearly $62 million, City Center TIF projects focus on streetscaping, lighting, acquisition and restoration of historic buildings, façade improvements, and others. Due in part to the TIF program, the City Center TIF area has brought about more than 1,300 already-built or in-planning residential units; more than 2,300 planned or completed hotel rooms; and more than 300,000 square feet of retail space. Another Tax Increment Finance District, the Sports Arena TIF contains about 65 acres of land surrounding the American Airlines Center. Funds to the tune of nearly $26 million will be used mainly for roadway improvements and future development of entertainment and retail space, residential units, and office space.

Economic Development Information: Greater Dallas Chamber, Economic Development, 700 North Pearl Street, Suite 1200, Dallas, TX 75201; telephone (214)746-6600

Commercial Shipping

A major mid-continent gateway to the world, the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport's international cargo shipments have more than tripled in the last 10 years, reaching 244,515 metric tons in 2004, a nearly 28 percent increase over 2003. In addition to its excellent airport services, interstate highways, and railroad connections, Dallas maintains its edge as a leading distribution center of the Southwest with a healthy trucking industry whose carriers offer direct service to major points in the United States.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Dallas' job market is primed to grow slightly faster than the nation in 2005. The expansion of the professional and business sector and the leisure and hospitality services sector is aiding the state's improving economy, along with solid growth in health and educational services. Additionally, the construction and transportation sectors are reporting accelerating year-over-year job growth, while the economic drag from the ailing manufacturing and information sectors is diminishing. Professionals are moving back to the urban center to take advantage of the educational and health care opportunities as well as professional business services that Dallas provides. Many of these new residents were enticed to relocate by the expanding leisure and hospitality industry, which has finally seen a revival since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. This influx of new residents provides the metro area with an abundant labor supply and increased prospects for local lenders. The Dallas area enters the twenty-first century experiencing some of the highest economic expansion in the nation. Dallas' entrepreneurial spirit and pro-business atmosphere paved the way for the city to be named "the best city in North America for business" twice by Fortune magazine. The Sprint Business Survey called Dallas the most productive area in the U.S., based on its vibrant economic climate and its fast-growing industries in technology, communications, professional services, banking and financial services.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Dallas metropolitan area labor force, 2003 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 1,901,600

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 104,900

manufacturing: 200,000

trade, transportation and utilities: 410,500

information: 80,600

financial activities: 168,100

professional and business services: 269,000

educational and health services: 188,400

leisure and hospitality: 170,300

other services: 73,400

government: 236,400

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $13.50

Unemployment rate: 5.5% (December 2004)

Dallas: Economy

Largest employers Number of employees
AMR (American Airlines) 26,700
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 19,200
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. 15,500
SBC Communications, Inc. 14,100
Verizon Communications, Inc. 13,000
Baylor Health Care System 12,600
Brinker International Inc. 12,000
Citigroup, Inc. 9,400
Electronic Data Systems Corp. 9,000
Raytheon 8,000

Dallas: Economy

Bank of America Corp. 7,700
Parkland Health and Hospital System 7,350
TXU Corporation 7,000
Southwest Airlines Co. 6,200
Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. 5,950
United Parcel Service, Inc. 5,550
Delta Airlines 5,000
FedEx Corp. 4,050

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of several key cost of living factors for the Dallas area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $189,137

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 93.9 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: none

State sales tax rate: 6.25% (food and prescription drugs are exempt)

Local income tax rate: none

Local sales tax rate: 8.25%, of which 1.0% is a transit system tax

Property tax rate: $2.93 per $100 of assessed valuation; ratio of assessment = 100% of market value (2003)

Economic Information: The Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, 700 North Pearl Street, Suite 1200, Dallas, TX 75201; telephone (214)746-6600


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