Private education, management of companies, arts and entertainment, finance and insurance, and manufacturing are among the fastest growing areas of employment in the ZIP codes that unofficially make up the Tomball and Magnolia region. Between 2008 and 2013, total jobs in Tomball and Magnolia increased by 11 percent, compared to a roughly 4 percent increase in Houston during that time.
"The north and northwest Houston areas are looking particularly robust right now as areas that are primed for employment growth," said Patrick Jankowski, vice president of the Greater Houston Partnership. "Some people are saying the northwest area could become a second energy corridor, or an 'energy wedge' with I-10 and I-45 as the boundaries and the Grand Parkway coming in to serve as the arc."
In 2008 there were 48,764 jobs in the Tomball and Magnolia region. In 2013, that number grew to 54,192, an addition of 5,428 jobs, according to data from the Texas Workforce Commission.
Among the most significant factors contributing to the strong job market in the region is the influx of oil and gas corporate relocations to the north and northwest Houston region, local economic officials said. Companies such as Baker Hughes, ExxonMobil, Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Energy have all recently relocated or expanded operations in the region. These major relocations and expansions continue to bring with them numerous suppliers and support industries to the region, officials said.
"The strong growth of the energy industry resulted in rapid growth of the region's secondary employment sectors," said Debbie Howle, director of the North Houston Regional Center for Economic Development. "These sectors include education, retail, restaurants, hotels, health care, entertainment and professional and business services. The secondary sectors are those businesses who serve the needs of the employers, employees and residents of the region."
Tomball/Magnolia job growth
Private education job growth—which includes jobs in private schools, junior colleges, universities, computer training and business and secretarial schools—along with growth in the arts and entertainment industry are two industries in the Tomball and Magnolia region that have seen a steady rise in jobs since 2008 with a 57 percent and 30 percent increase in jobs respectively. Between 2008 and 2013, private education jobs jumped from 364 to 573 and jobs in the arts and entertainment industry jumped from 413 to 535.
Kelly Violette, executive director for the Tomball Economic Development Corporation, said the growth seen in these industries can be attributed to the population increases that are happening in Tomball and Magnolia.
"I think the growth in the educational services sector is a very telling statistic," Violette said. "It indicates to me that educational centers providing technical training and skills development have become increasingly important as the jobs in our area require advanced and specialized skills, particularly in the oil and gas and medical fields."
Tana Ross, economic development coordinator for Magnolia, said private schools are becoming more desirable, especially among the energy workforce, and the Magnolia area will begin to see more private schools emerge in the future.
Jobs related to management of companies—which includes business and financial managers, accountants, auditors, bookkeepers and operations managers—increased by 33 percent in Tomball and Magnolia between 2008 and 2013, from 102 to 136, making it the second fastest growing sector behind private education.
Finance and insurance is the fourth fastest growing sector behind arts and entertainment with an increase from 1,142 jobs in 2008 to 1,431 in 2013, or a 25 percent increase. Manufacturing jobs round out the top five with a 25 percent increase in jobs from 3,659 to 4,563 between 2008 and 2013.
The north Houston area is primed for growth because of the amount of land available to develop, Howle said. This is especially true in the Tomball and Magnolia area, with both cities having the added advantage of being ideally located and able to benefit from the region's residential and commercial growth, she said.
"I think we will see more oil and gas-related services move into the area along with light manufacturing, medical and professional services," Ross said. "Our area's low taxes, large residential spaces and quality of life will continue to bring people to [the area] where they want to live, work and play."
In Tomball and Magnolia, the job growth rate in the top performing industries is expected to continue over the next few years as more companies and residents relocate to the region, Violette said.
Whether the job growth rate continues at an 11 percent rate is unknown, but Violette said she anticipates job growth will continue at a steady rate, with the fastest growing industries in the future being health care and technical operations. She said the growth in the oil and gas industry will likely result in an increase in advanced manufacturing companies that are energy related, design and engineering firms, as well as the retail and hospitality industries.
Violette said the completion of the TEDC's Business and Technology Park in mid-2015 will bring more businesses to the area and help with continued job growth in the region.
"The Business and Technology Park will likely attract an array of manufacturing companies from fabricated metal manufacturers to machinery manufacturing," she said. "We also hope to attract companies engaged in technology research and development operations to the park. These types of companies will provide a wide array of jobs from engineering professionals, machinists, research scientists, IT professionals, administrative professionals and welders."