“A low minimum wage and plenty of low-skilled workers ensure that Texas will have a high share of minimum wage jobs,” the researchers write. “On the other hand, a relatively low cost of living in Texas ensures that workers’ earnings here will go further than in other large states.”
Plus, as in the rest of the nation, those earning the least tend to be young, suggesting that their wages will only rise as their costs of living do.
Most sectors in the state contributed to the growth of so-called “good jobs,” they found, though education and health services were the runaway leaders for high-wage job creation (see chart below).
“Texas has produced hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs across most industries since 2000, making Texas the top destination for domestic migrants since 2006,” the researchers note. But broad trends, such as globalization, technological change and slowing educational attainment threaten its success. If the state wants to maintain the economic climate that enabled such (relatively) equitable job growth, it would be wise to institute policies now, such as investing in higher education, that boost economic opportunities, the authors argue.