Fastest Growing City
The company analyzed the working-age population, employment and income growth of 126 cities from 2009 to 2012 in order to find out which cities experienced the most significant job and population growth during that time.
The Woodlands came out on top with an incredible 60 percent increase in the working-age population over four years. According to the Houston Business Journal, recent census estimates have ranked the Woodlands' Montgomery County as one of the 30 fastest growing counties in the nation.
In spite of the area's huge population increase, the growth of employment (3.6 percent) and median income (9 percent) placed the master-planned community closer to the middle of the list. But the area has gotten a big boost from ExxonMobil's decision to build a new complex that will house 10,000 employees when it opens in 2015.
ExxonMobil’s arrival will not only create jobs in the energy industry but also support fields such as retail, restaurants and construction. Infrastructure in the area is also getting an upgrade: a new section of Houston’s Grand Parkway will open in 2015 to ferry thousands more workers to The Woodlands each day. Schools in The Woodlands, served by the Conroe Independent School District, are adding more than 1,500 new students each year and two new elementary schools will open in the 2014-2015 school year. Already, the area hosts 60 companies with more than 27,466 employees, according to Gil Staley, CEO of the Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership. Staley recently touted the growth in high-paying energy jobs during The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce 28th Economic Outlook Conference."
The study also sites an analysis by the Martin Institute that shows the economic impact of cities clusted into mega-regions. It notes:
Hou-Orleans, the great energy-producing belt that stretches from Houston through Mobile, Alabama to New Orleans, is home to more than 10 million people. It produces more than $750 billion in economic output, about the same as the Netherlands, placing it among the world’s 25 largest economies. Some researchers have suggested combining Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Austin into a single “Texas Triangle,” a mega of 20 million people and $1.5 trillion in economic output, comparable to Australia and just a bit smaller than India and Canada."