Thursday, April 26, 2012
BY BETTY BAILEY, Business Viewspoint
Findings from a recently released statewide survey conducted by Gov. Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce reveal some very positive trends for Oklahoma and the Tulsa area.
A closer look at Tulsa County's results suggests that businesses in our area, like those across the entire state, are optimistic and are hiring, which is a good sign that we are recovering from what has been a tough few years.
More than 5,300 companies participated in the FallinforBusiness.com online questionnaire, the largest statewide survey of businesses ever conducted in Oklahoma.
The responding companies represented more than 250,000 jobs, or 20 percent of Oklahoma's workforce. Of the companies that responded to the survey, 451 are located in Tulsa County.
A leading economic indicator is job creation and the extent to which Tulsa-area business are hiring. Statewide, 37 percent of businesses indicated they would be adding employees in 2012. In Tulsa County, the number was 41 percent.
In fact, of the 187 businesses in Tulsa County that said they would be hiring, the total number of anticipated hires was 2,587. If that trend holds, it would be aligned with projections for the Tulsa Metropolitan Statistical Area developed by the Tulsa Metro Chamber, which forecasts that employment will grow by about 2 percent this year.
Revenue growth for Tulsa-based companies appears to be slightly higher than the statewide average. In the survey, 45 percent of the local companies indicated that revenues were better than last year, compared with 40 percent statewide.
Also, 51 percent of Tulsa-based companies expected 2012 revenues to be higher compared with only 46 percent statewide.
In the survey, 77 percent of business leaders across the state indicated they were confident their businesses would grow. In Tulsa County, the number was 72 percent.
Tulsa-based businesses echoed the concerns of business leaders statewide in giving low ratings to the cost of workers compensation, access to funding sources, business incentives and assistance programs, and tax structure.
There is much to be excited about in Oklahoma and in the Tulsa area - our business climate and economy are strong. However, we also know what needs to be fixed in the eyes of our business leaders.
Our firm, Reliant, is proud to have partnered with the Commerce Department to develop the survey. As a small business in Oklahoma, it is reassuring to have leaders like the governor and Secretary of Commerce and Tourism Dave Lopez who understand the importance of opening the lines of communication between the state and business leaders.
The statewide survey was a great first step in building a strong future for business in Oklahoma and will be a great tool for those creating policy and driving economic development.
Betty Bailey is a senior partner for consulting and coaching at Tulsa-based Reliant, a talent management, consulting and software company.