Texas at work

This Hill Country county clocks in as top spot for workforce talent

This Hill Country county clocks in as top spot for workforce talent

Kendall County Courthouse Boerne
Kendall County jumped five spots from the 2019 ranking. Photo by Larry D. Moore/Wikimedia Commons

Kendall County is more than just a charming Hill Country destination. It's also a burgeoning hub for talented workers, and it could attract even more employers and residents once they pore over this year’s Talent Attraction Scorecard from mapping software company Esri.

The scorecard, released December 8, ranks Kendall County ninth among the country’s top small counties for the ability to recruit and develop workforce talent. Esri relied on six data points to come up with its rankings:

  • Net migration
  • Overall job growth 
  • Growth of skilled jobs
  • Level of education
  • Regional competitiveness
  • Annual job openings per capita

Kendall County jumped five spots in 2020, up from the No. 14 slot in the 2019 ranking.

Among the nation's small counties, Kendall appears at No. 11 for educational attainment, No. 13 for net migration, No. 16 for regional competitiveness, No. 30 for overall job growth, and No. 35 for growth of skilled jobs. It ranks No. 388, however, for annual job openings per capita.

Three other small Texas counties, all in far West Texas, join Kendall at the top of the charts:

  • Reeves County (Pecos) ranks first among small counties.
  • Hudspeth County (Fort Hancock) ranks fourth among small counties. 
  • Winkler County (Kermit) ranks sixth among small counties.

"Reeves County’s situation has some similar qualities to other small county Scorecard leaders, chiefly: natural resources or energy investments serving as a catalyst for their ascension in the rankings," notes the report. In Hudspeth, however, an "increase in jobs boosted education attainment, with federal government and health and human service jobs often requiring a post-secondary degree."

The Lone Star State's large counties also earn acclaim, with four appearing in the top 10 of Esri's large county list. “While they rank well across the index, the common theme with all of them is they are suburbs of major metros, and are seeing a migration from those metros,” the report says.

In all, six large Texas counties crack the top 20: 

  • Collin County (Dallas area) ranks third among large counties.
  • Williamson County (Austin area) ranks fourth among large counties.
  • Denton County (Dallas area) ranks sixth among large counties.
  • Montgomery County (Houston area) ranks ninth among large counties.
  • Fort Bend County (Houston area) ranks 11th among large counties.
  • Travis County (Austin area) ranks 17th among large counties.