The city of Dallas, Texas, is widely associated throughout the world with oil revenues and American Football, but this city of over 1 million people is actually built upon a diverse economic base that includes high technology, business, finance, real estate, manufacturing, and tourism. Its growth in the past century has increased so much that it has melded with the nearby cities of Fort Worth and Arlington to form the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country. Dallas is the largest city in America without a link to the ocean. All of its transportation needs are met by railways and the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, which is among the busiest airports in the world.

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Dallas' population growth is likely to continue because of the city's stable and prosperous economy. Unemployment in Dallas, even during a recession, is only about 7%, which is slightly higher than the Texas average. More new workers flock to the city with each passing year, settling in Dallas and its suburbs. Commuters from neighboring towns and cities increase Dallas' population by about 20% during the day. Living in a suburb isn't necessary, however, since the cost of living in Dallas itself is very low for a city of its size, more than eight points below the national average.

This vast pool of workers is employed in a variety of industries which offer opportunities to both blue and white collar workers. High technology is one of the city's largest employment sectors, earning Dallas the nickname "The Silicon Prairie." The city also has one of the highest concentrations of corporate headquarters offices in the nation, with companies such as AT&T, Kimberly Clarke, and ExxonMobil running their multinational empires from central Texas. Real estate, transportation, and manufacturing are other big employment sectors. Though no longer a manufacturing giant, Dallas' factories still turn out big-ticket items like airplane parts, electronics, machinery, chemicals, and food.

The biggest employers in Dallas are some of the nation's biggest moneymakers. American Airlines tops the list with over 26,000 employees - enough to populate a small city. Next largest is retail giant Wal-Mart with 19,000, followed by Lockheed-Martin Aeronautics, a multinational leader in defense hardware, with 15,000. Other big hitters from Dallas' list include communications companies, airlines, health insurance providers, banks, and manufacturers. Here are just a few: Verizon Communications, Baylor Health Care, Bank of America, Bell Helicopter, UPS, Texas Instruments, Southwest Airlines, and FedEx.

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