Culture / Newsy

Houston’s Jobs Plunge

Longtime Lists Darling Left Out of Best Cities Rankings in a Dramatic Turn

BY // 05.20.16

Less than two years ago, Houston reigned as the darling of all the “best cities to land a job” lists. Job-ranking sites couldn’t get enough of H-Town — and practically demanded that people move here if they were serious about seeking employment.

That was then. Now, Houston cannot even crack a “best job city” list — let alone come anywhere close to No. 1.

Glassdoor’s brand-new Best Cities for Jobs list underscores this point with the type of force Houston Rockets star James Harden allegedly uses with invasive photographers. Twenty five cities made the list, but Houston’s nowhere among them. In fact, only two Texas cities earn a spot at all (Austin at No. 6 and San Antonio at No. 20). What happened to Rick Perry’s so-called Texas Miracle?

The oil slump is the easy answer — and there is plenty of truth to that simple explanation, especially in Houston. But the new job city rankings bring out some concerns that go beyond the current price of crude per barrel. Continued job expansion out West — along with a surprising Midwest resurgence — shows that Texas has work to do in order to catch up that involves more than the nation’s gas pumps. San Jose (No. 1 overall), San Francisco (No. 2) and Seattle (No. 3) make the sheer strength of the West Coast’s tech power undeniable.

It’s no coincidence that the most tech-friendly Texas city (Austin) is the only Lone Star State city left standing in the Top 10.

This tech gap is not unexpected, though. What’s shocking is how cities people used to make fun of (No. 12 Detroit, No. 15 Cleveland, No. 16 Indianapolis and No. 19 Pittsburgh) have passed Houston and Dallas by. Detroit had 59,494 job openings last year — nearly 15,000 more than even Austin. That’s a monumental comeback for a city that many left for dead.

No one would have thought it possible 20 months ago. But now, Houston needs its own jobs comeback.

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