By Mike Rosa, Senior Vice President, Economic Development
As the year ends, I am delighted to share economic development highlights from 2023.
First, jobs. The Dallas-Fort Worth Region continues to lead all U.S. metro areas for net job growth. Over the past five years, DFW has added a total of 602,200 net new jobs, 59,000 more than the combined job growth of the metros ranking second and third – Atlanta and Houston.
Company moves and expansions contribute to strong job growth. The Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) tracks headline-making headquarters, office, and industrial projects that locate to DFW each year. Through Q3 of 2023, 55 companies have made location announcements here, which projects to over 70 for the entire year—a pace we’ve kept for the last several years. This year’s announcements are a mix of headquarters, offices, and industrial parks, sprinkled with a few special projects like the new Universal Studios theme park and the ARPA-H headquarters.
I am glad to report that 22 regional cities have at least one win so far in 2023, and it is exciting that Southern Dallas County has landed nine projects.
Two Southern Dallas County projects are among the year’s biggest wins—Canadian Solar in Mesquite and Trina Solar in Wilmer—each creating 1,500 jobs. They combine for 1.75 million-square-feet of space and $450 million in capital investment.
Trina Solar’s new 1.25 million-square-foot facility alone is a half-mile in length.
Canadian Solar and Trina Solar are tech-based projects as well. The Dallas Region is home to 278,000 tech jobs—a third of the total tech jobs in Texas. With 59,000 new tech jobs added over the past five years, DFW leads the nation among all U.S. metro areas.
In recent years, led by Senior Vice President of Research & Innovation Duane Dankesreiter, the DRC has shaped and promoted our region’s tech and innovation brand with great data, publications, storytelling, relationships, and convenings that result in economic development opportunities, including expanding the life science sector in the region.
With Pegasus Park, the new Texas Instruments Biomedical Engineering Center, DFW International Airport’s new cold chain storage facility, and other new assets complementing our existing strengths, we see a greater opportunity for attraction, expansion, and growth of biotech and life science companies here.
The DRC built a life science website two years ago, and last year, we hired Kelly Cloud, Vice President, to focus exclusively on life science recruitment to the region. Because we laid the groundwork, we were prepared to respond to the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) opportunity, which we went on to win against strong competition from more established life science metro areas.
The DRC supported the Lyda Hill Philanthropies team – the visionary leaders of the ARPA-H pursuit – and was trusted to make closing arguments to the ARPA-H committee on pitch day. The Customer Experience hub will be physically located at Dallas’ Pegasus Park, validating, amplifying, and accelerating the DRC’s life science focus as we move into 2024.
ARPA-H was not the only economic development program win for DFW in 2023.
Early this year, Southern Methodist University led a response to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s call for bids from existing tech-savvy regions interested in designation as a tech hub—and therefore became eligible for $70 million to fund research in critical tech sectors.
The DRC’s Research & Innovation team was instrumental in building the winning bid.
The Texoma Semiconductor Tech Hub is the only Texas win among 400 bids and 31 hubs announced by President Joe Biden and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
It has been a tremendously successful and interesting year for economic development in our region. We look forward to continuing our work in 2024!