March 15, 2010
By Cheryl Hall
Economist Michael Cox has a slogan to suggest if you're trying to attract talented workers from either coast: Move here and get a free BMW.
It's not false advertising, says the former chief economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, who's now at Southern Methodist University.
Most professionals working in the Northeast and California pay the equivalent of a year's worth of expensive car payments in annual personal income tax – which we don't have.
But we don't need an ad campaign to encourage immigration to North Texas.
Every year for the last three years, Dallas-Fort Worth has added a Little Rock to our population, Cox says. Maintain that annual increase of 165,000 for three years, and we will have "annexed" a San Jose, Calif., since 2007.
"Every six years, we add a million people," says Cox, who heads the O'Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom at SMU. "That's unbelievable. When they lose their jobs in Cleveland, they say, 'OK, let's pack up and move to Dallas.' "
If population trends continue, we'll replace Chicago as the third-largest metropolitan area in 20 years, if not sooner, Cox says.
Why here? Why now?
"The world has fallen in our lap," he says. "We're a service-based economy. We're perfectly poised for growth domestically. Now we have global growth through technology that enables us to be the 'it' economy."
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