Tulsa Job Growth Higher Than Expected

Job growth last year in the Tulsa metro was revised upward by nearly a full percentage point, from 2.3 percent to 3.2 percent, according a report from Mark C. Snead, director of the Center for Applied Economic Research in the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

The number of jobs in was 3,100 above the estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Snead wrote in the report, released Friday.

“The added momentum from 2006 has pushed our revised 2007 job outlook for the Tulsa area from 1.7 percent to 2.4 percent as the area creates 10,300 new jobs, 3,300 above our initial estimate,” Snead wrote.

Snead, a research economist at OSU, said the forecast for 2007 remain positive, despite a slowing in job growth across the state last year. Growth slowed from 3 percent to 1.8 percent. That growth still out-paced the rest of the nation, which grew at a 1.5 percent rate.

“The state’s oil and gas sector continues to provide the boost that is pushing state job gains above the national rate,” Snead said. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics raised the estimated number of oil and gas wage and salary workers statewide by nearly 10 percent pushing the total to 44,400 jobs — or 3,900 more jobs than initially estimated.”

Oil and natural gas activity is driving income gains across the state and has raised the state and Oklahoma County into the ranks of the national leaders in incomes gains, the report said.

Manufacturing, which remains weak nationally, still shows job gains in the state.

Manufacturing employment in Oklahoma showed year-over-year job gains of 1.8 percent in 2005 and 2.9 percent in 2006. Conversely, the nation posted manufacturing job losses in both 2005 and 2006 which will make it difficult to produce sustained gains in state manufacturing hiring without a rebound in the sector nationally, the report stated.

“Our 2007 forecast for state manufacturing hiring is improved, but still calls for small manufacturing job declines this year as the sector remains weak nationally,” Snead wrote.

Other highlights from the report:

· The rural areas of the state continue to perform at least as well as the metro areas, driven largely by continued strong oil and gas activity and manufacturing hiring.

· Major housing markets nationwide continue to show weakness for both new and existing home sales (both units sold and price) through the first quarter of this year; however Oklahoma’s housing markets continue to largely ignore this softness. Strong economic conditions and the lack of a housing price bubble should combine to produce an average of 4-5 percent price gains statewide in 2007.

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