Friday, November 30, 2012
Zeke Campfield, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's cities and counties continue to recover from the nationwide recession faster than other states, according to a report released this week by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Personal income grew last year in all of the nation's 366 metropolitan statistical areas for the first time since 2007, but the growth rate in Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County was far beyond the national average, according to “Local Area Personal Income, 2009-2011.”
Personal income growth was 7.6 percent in the Oklahoma City metro area from 2010-11 and 7.2 percent countywide, compared with an average nationwide increase of 5.2 percent.
The Tulsa metro area saw similar growth, and both Tulsa and Oklahoma City rate increases were among the top fifth of all American metro areas.
Total personal income for Oklahoma City for 2011 was 51.1 million, topping the previous record of 49.5 million set in 2008.
Growth rates ranged from 14.8 percent in Odessa, Texas, to 1 percent in Rochester, Minn., according to the report.
Nationwide, earnings grew 5.5 percent and property income (personal dividends, interest and rent) grew 7.6 percent.
Total number of full-time and part-time jobs in the Oklahoma City metro area also increased substantially from 2010-11, according to the report.
After dropping from 612,408 total jobs in 2008 to 596,800 in 2009, total jobs increased to 597,697 in 2010 and to 612,094 in 2011.
Average earnings per job hit $57,885, beating out the 2008 record of $57,678, according to the report.
Significant employment increases for the Oklahoma City metro area from 2010-11 included in wholesale trading (8.3 percent), manufacturing (5.6 percent) and in professional, scientific and technical services (5.2 percent.)
Nearly all sectors
Increases were experienced in nearly all sectors except in government employees, military and company management positions, according to the report.
Don Hackler, spokesman for the state Commerce Department, said states like Oklahoma and Texas have become more attractive for companies and prospective employees because the unemployment rate is low and plenty of high-paying jobs have been created and remain unfilled, particularly in manufacturing.
“Part of it is that we've worked for several years to help diversify the economic bases of the state, to go away from primarily agriculture and energy and increasing manufacturing,” Hackler said.
New aerospace incentives encouraged Boeing to expand at its engineering center near Tinker Air Force Base, and state leadership has been successful in developing a pro-business climate here, Hackler said.