When most people think Texas, they think Big Oil. But in Dallas, telecom is keeping the economy humming.
Nortel, Sprint, AT&T and several other telecom companies are major employers in the area. The tech industry (Texas Instruments), energy (Exxon) and airlines (Southwest) also offer lots of jobs.
Businesses like Texas for a couple of reasons: real estate is inexpensive and there are few regulatory limits on building, said Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia, the real estate website. That makes launching a business or expanding one relatively easy.
Newcomers like the reasonably priced housing. In the Dallas metro area, the median price home recently sold for $185,000 and most working families can afford to own.
No matter what, they'll need a car, though. The metro area keeps sprawling outward, now encompassing more than 340 square miles. Much of it is sparsely settled so there's plenty of room to keep adding new residents within the city limits.