The Economy of Wichita Falls, Texas

Wichita Falls is a city in north Texas near the Oklahoma border. With a population of over 100,000 residents, it is an important hub for commerce and industry in the region. The economy of Wichita Falls has historically been driven by agriculture and oil/gas, but has diversified over the years into sectors like healthcare, education, manufacturing, and retail.

This in-depth guide will examine various aspects of Wichita Falls’ economy, including major industries, large employers, income and wages, unemployment rates, economic development initiatives, and more. We’ll also highlight some of the advantages and strengths Wichita Falls offers for businesses and workers.

Major Industries and Employers

Oil and Gas

As part of the energy-rich Texas/Oklahoma region, oil and gas extraction and support services are a vital part of the Wichita Falls economy. Major oil companies like Continental Resources, Diversified Energy, and Baron Exploration have operations in and around Wichita Falls. There are also many oilfield services firms located in the city that provide support activities like drilling, pipeline construction, site prep, well maintenance, and more.

The oil boom in recent years has brought an influx of high-paying jobs and business activity. Industry advocates expect Wichita Falls to remain an important regional hub for oil/gas for decades to come as new shale plays are developed.


Healthcare is the largest employment sector in Wichita Falls, accounting for nearly 15% of all jobs in the metro area. The city’s two major hospitals – United Regional Health Care System and Kell West Regional Hospital – employ over 2,500 healthcare workers combined.

With a growing and aging population in North Texas, demand for healthcare services is expected to rise. Several new specialty clinics and treatment centers have opened in Wichita Falls in recent years as well.

Major healthcare employers include:

  • United Regional Health Care System (2,100 employees)
  • Kell West Regional Hospital (600+ employees)
  • Electra Memorial Hospital
  • Texas Oncology
  • Community Healthcare Center
  • North Texas State Hospital


Manufacturing provides over 5,000 well-paying jobs in the Wichita Falls area. Major manufacturing employers include aircraft parts maker 3N2, industrial pump manufacturer Flowserve, aluminum recycler Texoma Metals, and mat/flooring producer Milliken.

The city is located within a huge wind power region, so several firms related to wind energy production have operations locally as well. Wichita Falls’ central location and solid transportation access make it an ideal location for manufacturing and distribution facilities.

Retail and Hospitality

As the largest city in North Texas between Fort Worth and Oklahoma City, Wichita Falls is a hub for retail and hospitality services. Major shopping centers include Sikes Senter Mall, The Falls, and Parker Square.

Leading retailers include Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Best Buy, Dillard’s, and United Supermarkets. The city has over 100 restaurants ranging from national chains to local eateries. Hotels like the MPEC Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn also benefit from frequent business and leisure travelers passing through Wichita Falls.

This sector employs around 15% of the city’s workforce, with room for continued growth as the population expands.


Wichita Falls is home to Midwestern State University, which enrolls over 6,000 students and employs around 700 people. The city’s K-12 public school system, Wichita Falls ISD, has 24 elementary schools, six middle schools, and four high schools. WFISD employs over 2,000 teachers, staff, and administrators.

There are also several technical institutes, private schools, charter schools, and early learning centers in Wichita Falls that provide hundreds of additional education jobs.

Income and Wages

The median household income in Wichita Falls is $50,020, which is slightly below the national median of $62,843 and Texas median of $61,874. However, cost of living is over 15% lower than average in Wichita Falls, so wages go further compared to other regions.

Typical wages for common professions:

  • Healthcare practitioners: $71,810
  • Engineers: $68,880
  • Police officers: $56,170
  • Office/admin roles: $38,040
  • Retail salespersons: $24,680
  • Food service: $21,250

Household incomes and wages are rising faster in Wichita Falls than national averages due to economic expansion. Job growth is strong in well-paying sectors like manufacturing, professional services, construction, and technology. The oil/gas boom has also lifted wages substantially for energy sector workers.

Unemployment and Labor Force

Over the past decade, unemployment in Wichita Falls has been steadily declining from a peak of 7.7% in 2010 down to just 3.5% in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a spike in unemployment in 2020 to 8.7%, but this has since recovered to 4.1% as of October 2021.

The labor force participation rate is 60.8%, above the national average of 61.6%. Wichita Falls has a larger share of skilled trade workers compared to national averages, while white-collar office jobs comprise a smaller share of the workforce.

With growing oil/gas, healthcare, retail, and education sectors, job opportunities remain strong. Continued economic development initiatives aim to attract talent and fill open positions across industries.

Economic Development

Several organizations work to promote business growth and workforce development in Wichita Falls:

  • Chamber of Commerce – Represents local business interests. Provides networking/training events and promotes the city to potential investors.
  • Wichita Falls Economic Development Corporation – Leads initiatives like the Downtown Improvement Project for revitalizing commercial areas. Offers loans, tax incentives, and other perks to attract new firms.
  • Workforce Solutions North Texas – Operates the city’s career center to match employers with qualified job seekers. Provides training programs and hosts job fairs.
  • Wichita Falls 4A/4B Boards – Uses sales tax revenue to offer economic development grants, finance infrastructure projects, and fund workforce programs. Helps recruit and retain major employers.

The city has several sites pre-approved and “shovel ready” for business facilities, including industrial parks with space for manufacturing, distribution, oil/gas companies, and more. Downtown revitalization efforts are also bringing new companies and housing into the city center.

Business Costs

Wichita Falls offers low costs that make it attractive for starting or relocating a business:

  • Commercial real estate – Average prices per square foot range from $9 for industrial space to $25 for Class A downtown office space, very affordable compared to other Texas metros.
  • Labor – Average wages in manufacturing and professional services are 15-20% below the national average. Low union membership rates help keep labor costs competitive.
  • Taxes – Texas has no corporate income tax and Wichita Falls has modest business property tax rates. Sales tax rates are 8.25%, higher than average.
  • Utilities – Industrial electricity rates are around 6 cents per kilowatt-hour, well below national averages. Water and sewer costs are also inexpensive.
  • Transportation – Interstate access, railways, and proximity to DFW Airport help minimize shipping/logistics costs.

Strengths for Business and Workers

Wichita Falls offers many advantages for businesses and professionals looking to relocate:

  • Strategic location in a growing region rich in oil/gas and diverse industries
  • Available workforce with manufacturing and technical skills
  • Low costs for real estate, labor, taxes, utilities, and transport
  • Excellent infrastructure and transportation access
  • Pro-business environment with incentives for new firms
  • Low crime rates and cost of living compared to other Texas metros
  • Strong healthcare, education, retail, dining, and recreational amenities for residents
  • Active economic development programs supporting continued growth


While historically reliant on agriculture and oil/gas, Wichita Falls has developed a strong, diverse economy with growing industries like healthcare, manufacturing, education, and retail. The city offers an affordable cost of living, pro-business environment, and quality of life amenities.

With its skilled workforce, prime location, infrastructure, and economic development support, Wichita Falls seems well-positioned for continued expansion across sectors. The community is an ideal spot for new businesses or professionals seeking economic opportunities in North Texas.


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  • Start out heading north on I-44 W. Take exit 1A to merge onto US-277 N/US-281 N toward Wichita Falls. Drive for about 13 miles then use the right 2 lanes to take exit 1A for TX-240 Loop/Kell Fwy toward Downtown/Sheppard AFB. Continue on TX-240 Loop W for 4 miles then use the left 2 lanes to turn left onto Kemp Blvd. In 0.6 miles, turn right onto Dunbarton Dr. The destination will be on the right in 0.3 miles.
  • Begin on US-277 N in Burkburnett. Drive north for approximately 11 miles and take exit 46 for TX-240 Loop W/Kell Fwy toward Downtown/Sheppard AFB. Stay straight to continue on TX-240 Loop W for 4 miles. Use the left 2 lanes to turn left onto Kemp Blvd. After 0.6 miles, make a right onto Dunbarton Dr. 4500 Dunbarton Dr will be on the right side in 0.3 miles.
  • Head west on I-44 W and take exit 46A to merge onto US-277 N toward Wichita Falls. In about 12.5 miles, take exit 1A to get on TX-240 Loop W/Kell Fwy going west. Stay on TX-240 Loop W for 4 miles then use the left lanes to turn left onto Kemp Blvd. Drive 0.6 miles and turn right onto Dunbarton Dr. The destination will soon be on the right after driving 0.3 miles more.