Fort Bend County attracting new businesses, new jobs faster than almost anywhere in US

August 22, 2012 1:45:56 PM PDT
A grand opening in Sugar Land could be a sign of things to come. Fort Bend County is attracting new businesses and new jobs faster than almost anywhere in the country.

The city of Sugar Land has been working hard to diversify its business base and specifically bring in firms specializing in new technology. Some there are pushing for the area to be called the "Silicon Coast."

"It just really is a great place where you want to open up a business," said Tom Pepe, found and CEO of Validas.

His company let us tour its brand new, 5,800 square foot facility, located near the heart of Sugar Land's town square. Validas sells analysis of wireless billing for companies large and small.

"It's really a dashboard. It goes into your money, your usage, and you can compare. It gives you some savings models," Pepe showed us.

They say they currently serve one-third of Fortune 500 companies. They plan to expand, but employ 20 people right now, including two just hired this week.

"Honestly this job couldn't be any more amazing or perfect," said employee Veronica Stapleton.

Stephanie Matthews told us, "The best jobs are in Houston and Sugar Land. Everyone knows that!"

Locating in Sugar Land, Pepe says, was a "no brainer" given the city's low tax rate and the state's lack of income tax.

City leaders tout a CNN Money survey that found more than a 78 percent increase in Sugar Land and Missouri City jobs over the last ten years.

"It's very exciting news for us. It shows that the fruits of our labor is being realized," said Regina Morales, City of Sugar Land Economic Development Director.

As new business is coming to Sugar Land and Fort Bend County, existing business is expanding.

You can see signs of all this growth -- more people, more activity, more restaurants. That's driven the city's unemployment rate down further. The latest estimates from May put it at just 5 percent, much better than seen in so many cities across the country.

The city of Sugar Land and the new businesses locating here hope that one success leads to another.

Two local counties make CNN Money's top 10 job markets

Five Texas counties join CNN Money's list of the top 10 job markets in America.

Fort Bend County ranks as the second-best job market with a 78-percent growth in jobs over the last decade. Coming in third place is Wlliamson County with nearly a 74-percent increase in jobs. Montgomery County ranks in fourth place, with Collin County sixth and Denton County in seventh.

A study finds expansion in engineering and energy firms are responsible for the high rankings. See the complete rankings here.


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