By Elsa Maxey
A widely read finance topics publication cites a favorable tax structure, a strong school system, and easy access to the Greater Houston area as contributing factors earning Fort Bend County almost the highest rating nationwide for job creation. Fort Bend County has been named the No. 2 county on CNN/Money Magazine’s “Where the Jobs Are” listing, reported by Jeff Wiley, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council.
The ranking by the magazine notes that Fort Bend County has come a long way from its farming days and is now better known for growing jobs than for growing crops. Crop growing, however, still remains in the picture. Why, that’s why so many Farmers Markets throughout this community have cropped up. There’s even one in the county seat of Richmond, announced earlier this year.
As for the job growth ranking, the cities cited in the listing include Sugar Land and Missouri City with a 78.1 percent job growth over the last 11 years, 2000 -2011. Fort Bend County is among 25 counties nationwide that have seen the most job growth, making it a lot easier to find work and a great place to live even in a tough market, according to the magazine.
Employment sites that were named focus on the energy sector like Schlumberger and CVR Energy. Team Industrial Services serving heavy industry recently announced it will be relocating its headquarters to this area and 100 jobs. Fluor Enterprises, which owns Fluor Daniel in Sugar Land, is reported to have made plans to add 2,000 jobs in future expansion. A 50 acre site was purchased recently by Fluor Daniel next to where the City of Sugar Land may be constructing a 6,500 seat concert and performing arts facility at U.S. 59 and University Drive.
The announcement about the county’s high ranking also states that for more than two decades, Fort Bend has consistently ranked among the top in the nation for economic performance, job creation, and quality of life. It also states that another recent study, Comerica Regional Economic Update, identifies the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metro as the fastest-growing job creation area in the nation.
Fort Bend is among five counties in Texas receiving the high national ranking. Williamson County followed Fort Bend in the number three spot, which includes Round Rock, Cedar Park and the Georgetown communities. Closer to home is the Woodlands in Montgomery County ranking 4th, Collin County ranked 6th and Denton County was ranked 7th. The top ranking county? That went to a county in Virginia citing 83.6 percent job growth between 2000 – 2011.