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Jacobs Engineering plans to move jobs from Pasadena to Texas

Jacobs Engineering plans to move jobs from Pasadena to Texas
Jacobs Engineering Group brings in $12 billion in annual revenue and employs some 64,000 people. (Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)

Jacobs Engineering Group, one of the world's largest engineering companies, is preparing to move employees from its Pasadena headquarters to Dallas, becoming the latest major corporation to relocate significant operations from California to Texas.

The Fortune 500 firm, founded in Pasadena more than half a century ago, already has 300 employees in downtown Dallas and is weighing a more significant relocation. Mendi Head, a spokeswoman for the firm, confirmed the plans in an interview Monday.

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In an email statement, Head wrote that Jacobs "is considering plans to move a portion of its corporate functions from its Pasadena location to Dallas later this year, pending a successful real estate process and final approvals for state and local economic development investments."

The company will keep some employees in its Pasadena office, Head wrote.

Dallas is trying to lure the company to set up its headquarters there with a $277,500 grant, according to an agenda for a meeting of the city's economic development committee.

"It should concern everyone in the community. The kind of jobs Jacobs Engineering provides, especially at the corporate level, are exactly the type of jobs we want in our community," said Gary Toebbin, president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. Professional services have been a bright spot for California, generating outsize job growth in recent years.

Jacobs has worked on monumental transportation and energy projects across the globe, including the first phase of the Expo Line expansion in Los Angeles, and a heating and power station at Heathrow Airport in London.

The company has a stock-market capitalization of more than $6 billion, brings in $12 billion in annual revenue, and employs some 64,000 people.

The engineering giant isn't alone. Jamba Juice said last month that it would move operations from Emeryville, Calif., to Frisco, Texas, and in 2014, Toyota announced a relocation of its headquarters from Torrance to Plano, Texas.

Jacobs did not say why it is eyeing Texas, or how many employees would leave. Toyota and Jamba Juice both cited the expense of California real estate as a motivation. Texas has no personal income tax as well.

"No doubt there is a trend. Texas has been the number one destination every year for the last eight years for California companies," said Joe Vranich, the owner of Spectrum Location Solutions, a consultant for companies considering cross-state moves.

In January, Vranich released a study showing that 1,669 companies had left California since 2007, with Texas receiving the largest number. He estimates that many more companies actually departed, but the moves weren't publicly reported.

Despite the moves, California added 450,200 jobs over the last 12 months, whereas Texas added 189,600 jobs.

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