Dallas-Fort Worth Skills Gap Report

There is a high demand for middle-skill workers in the healthcare and information technology sectors.

November 2, 2023

Unemployment remains high across the globe, yet recent data reveals that employers are having trouble finding workers in key sectors. Through New Skills at Work, our five-year $250 million global initiative, we aim to help markets build a demand-driven workforce development system, and to prepare youth and adults for careers in high-demand, middle-skill occupations.

To advance this work, we are supporting data analysis in domestic and international markets: Chicago, Columbus, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. The goal is to help fortify regional economies for the future, and advance the vision that all residents have the opportunity for good jobs that enable them to support themselves and their families.

On May 21, 2015, we released the Dallas-Fort Worth Skills Gap Report which provides a comprehensive look at available middle-skill jobs in the healthcare and information technology industries. It offers data-driven steps city policy makers, community colleges, training providers and private sector employers can take to fill these critical, well-paying jobs.

Undeniably, the Dallas-Fort Worth region is thriving. The area is a magnet for new companies and new residents. The region ranks among the top three U.S. metro areas for business expansions, relocations and employment growth.1 This positive trend is projected to continue through 2023.

However, in dramatic contrast to the surrounding region’s economic prosperity, the city of Dallas has one of the highest concentrations of poverty in the nation. Many of these residents are unemployed or underemployed, preventing them from benefiting from the region’s economic growth. This opportunity gap is disproportionately affecting African-Americans and Hispanics, who represent a large and growing pool of potential middle-skill workers, just as the region needs to expand its talent pipeline.

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The Dallas-Fort Worth region is thriving

7% Regional labor market growth since 2009, compared to 5% nationally

371k New regional jobs added since 2001

2.2% Regional contributions to the nation's net new job growth from 2001-2013

1.7% Job growth projection per year from 2013 to 2023, compared to 1.2% nationally

4% Current regional unemployment rate, compared to 5.4% nationally1

Source: EMSI unless otherwise noted2

Middle-skill jobs are critical to the DFW economy

960,000 middle-skill jobs currently in the DFW region. These occupations represent 29% of all positions.

$24.47 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 through 2018

Source: EMSI3

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 a high school credentials4

640,000 or 14.7% of individuals in the DFW region ages 16-64 have limited English proficiency5

© 2015 JPMorgan Chase & Co.
1Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2015. Dallas-Fort Worth Area Economic Summary. Retrieved from on February 11, 2015.
2EMSI conducted a proprietary analysis of middle-skill opportunities in the DFW region for JPMorgan Chase. All EMSI citations in this report refer to that analysis.
3EMSI drew upon data from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Living Wage Calculator for the living wage for a family of three living in the Dallas-Fort Worth Arlington MSA. Additional info can be found here:
4U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, averages for 2011–2013.
5Brookings Institute. 2014. Investing in English Skills: The Limited English Proficient Workforce in U.S. Metropolitan Areas. Retrieved from on February 10, 2015.


High demand in middle-skill jobs


3.6% average annual middle-skill job growth projected between 2013 and 2018

Information Technology

5.5% average annual middle-skill job growth projected between 2013 and 2018


32,990 job openings

Information Technology

6,739 job openings

Nearly 40,000 middle-skill job openings were in these two sectors in 2013–14

Source: Burning Glass

High wages for in-demand middle-skill jobs

$20.29 median hourly wage for surgical technologists

$20.30 median hourly wage for        help desk positions

Source: EMSI

© 2015 JPMorgan Chase & Co.


While the region’s future is bright, more needs to be done to help ensure that all residents can access opportunities to gain the skills that employers value and that lead to the middle class. Some key local industries need a growing number of workers to fill middle-skill jobs that can help more of the region’s residents participate in the region’s economic growth. The good news is that significant efforts are already underway to increase education and skill levels and to align postsecondary and workforce development programs with industry needs.

Learn more about the Skills Gap



1.Dallas Regional Chamber. 2014. Dallas Economic Development Guide. Retrieved from: