Our Economic Impact

Middle-Skill Jobs are Critical to the DFW Economy

  • There are 960,000 middle-skill jobs currently in the DFW region. These occupations represent 29% of all positions.
  • $24.47 is the average median hourly wage of middle-skill positions, 35% higher than the region’s living wage of $18.08.
  • 42,000 middle-skill job openings are projected every year after the COVID recovery.

Where New Middle-Skill Workers Will Come From

Many DFW residents lack the basic academic and job readiness skills required to start a middle-skill career ladder.

  • 950,000 adults, or 22% of the region’s population ages 25 and older do not have high school credentials.
  • 640,000 or, 14.7% of individuals in the DFW region ages 16-64 have limited English proficiency.

Unfortunately, educational attainment levels in Texas are moving in the wrong direction and are projected to significantly drop by 2040 unless we make meaningful and significant changes today.  A steep increase is projected in labor participants who have not completed high school and decreases in labor participants who have earned college credentials.

The average annual income of adults who can reach the maximum level for proficiency in literacy (level 3) is nearly $63,000, significantly higher than the average of $48,000 earned by adults who score just below proficiency (level2) and much higher than those at low levels of literacy (levels 0 and 1) who earned just over $34,000 on average.

Eradicating illiteracy would have enormous economic benefits. This analysis finds that getting all U.S. adults to at least a Level 3 of literacy proficiency would generate an additional $2.2 trillion in annual income for the country. That is 10% of the gross domestic product.

McAllen, Texas, stands to gain the most from eradicating illiteracy. In McAllen, an estimated 84% of the population score below Level-3 proficiency and would gain an estimated 41% of the GDP if they became proficient.

Dallas would stand to gain at, or just above, 10% of its GDP by eradicating illiteracy. In these cases, non-proficiency rates are similar to the national average, and local gains from literacy are expected to be higher, given the lucrative job opportunities for people with high levels of literacy.

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