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New report: D-FW poised to become the biggest metro in the country to get back to pre-pandemic employment numbers

And D-FW could do it by the end of this year, far faster than the analysts expected

DALLAS — The Dallas-Fort Worth area has been getting back to work. Once again, D-FW leads much of the country in the number of jobs created, with an additional 22,600 positions in October alone, according to a new report by Dallas-based ThinkWhy.

The labor market analytics firm had been expecting D-FW would be back to pre-pandemic employment numbers by mid-2022. But Chief Labor Market Analyst Jay Denton now believes that D-FW might get there much sooner.

“If it can have the same type of month in November that it had in October, we will actually have the same amount of jobs in Dallas that we had before the pandemic," Denton said. 

And that would also be a significant milestone, especially compared to other major metros: “It’ll be the largest market to hit that fast."

Denton acknowledges that the jobs recovery has been uneven.

“People will be watching and saying, 'That is not my situation, that is not what I am seeing.' Not all the same jobs came back.”

He says positions in hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues haven’t bounced back as quickly, but that big gains in other sectors have helped inflate the overall jobs numbers here.

We recently visited the corporate offices of ThinkWhy, which crunches salaries for more than 20,000 different jobs in many U.S. markets, looking at trillions of data points. ThinkWhy then advises companies across the country on how much money they should be offering to attract new workers and keep the ones they already have. Pay has been trending up, especially for job candidates with experience.

Denton says the record level of job quitting this year has put a huge strain on companies trying to staff up. At first, many analysts thought those who had dropped out of the workforce had only done so temporarily.

“The thought was when the extra stimulus went away, they would flood back. And we absolutely have not seen that," Denton said.

Some may have decided to stay home with their children, start a small business, or retire early since the stock market quickly recovered from its pandemic plummet. Whatever their reasons, Denton says, there are still "three million fewer people even looking for jobs."

He says employers are doing everything they can right now to compete for the short supply of potential workers. Judging by the trends they have been seeing, ThinkWhy believes workers are going to be in huge demand through the rest of this year and next year.

“So employers are trying to figure out which knob to turn to get that person to answer the call, the text, the email," Denton said.

So, pick a knob. Many employers are trying to attract you with better pay, work from home flexibility, their benefits offerings, their work culture or the potential for you to be promoted in their companies. 

There’s one more knob they can tun to possibly accept someone who isn’t a natural fit for the job description.

“Businesses in some ways are looking at, how can we take people from other industries and get them trained up for this job," Denton said. 

It might be worthwhile to apply for positions right now even if you don’t meet all the qualifications. Tell the employer you’re willing to learn. 

Also, Denton says you might want to be willing to apply in far-flung places.

“If you have talent and skills where you can work remotely, there are companies across the country that are trying to hire."

Denton says it might be especially advantageous to apply for remote work positions offered by companies in New York, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco, since employers there may be willing to pay you those higher regional salaries while you are still enjoying the relatively lower cost of living in D-FW.

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