Greater Oklahoma City is in the geographic center of North America equidistant from the east and west coasts and major trade partners of Canada and Mexico. The ten county region is at the crossroads of the U.S., sitting at the heart of three major national highways on the NAFTA corridor.
There's a reason Greater Oklahoma City is such a great place for business: Location. The ten county region is positioned within a day's drive of the rapidly-growing south-central region (OK, TX, AR, LA) projected to grow more than 44% during the next 25 years.
Noting low costs of living and good jobs, Forbes named Oklahoma City America's Most Affordable City.
At the height of the Great Recession, Forbes.com said Oklahoma City was the most recession-proof city in the country. Two and a half years later, the magazine has given the city another top ranking.
Noting low costs of living and good jobs, Forbes named Oklahoma City as America's Most Affordable City.
The magazine also noted Oklahoma City's friendly residents and an unemployment rate well below the national average, 6.3 percent compared to 9.5 percent.
"We searched for cities that had a balance of cheap living and economic prosperity - places with solid job markets, but where costs aren't prohibitive," magazine editors said. "In these cities, costs have stayed down, but residents have held onto steady incomes and decent jobs, making them a true bargain."
Forbes looked at all metropolitan statistical areas with populations of at least 100,000. They were ranked on the cost of a basket of goods and services, including groceries, health care and transportation, as of the second quarter of 2010.
The magazine also measured the monthly cost of housing as a percentage of household income.
The average sale price of an Oklahoma City-area home in September was $158,755, up 6.7 percent from September 2009, and the median price was $135,000, up 4.8 percent, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors.
The next four spots on the Forbes list went to Pittsburgh; Buffalo, N.Y.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Nashville, Tenn. The top 10 also includes three Texas cities: San Antonio, Houston and Austin, along with Louisville, Ky., and Birmingham, Ala.
"State capitals and university towns have vibrancy because of their job base, the stability of jobs and cultural diversification," said James Gaines, a research economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
The ranking was the latest in a string of kudos for Oklahoma City. In October, Oklahoma City was named a Top 25 Performing City by the Milken Institute, No. 7 Best City for Income Growth by Portfolio.com, a Top 5 Fastest Growing City by Forbes and a Top 10 State for Doing Business by Area Development Magazine.
"In times like these, value is key to everything we do as a chamber," said Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. "From attracting new business, retaining and fostering growth with our current companies to attracting conventions and visitors, the number one factor on everyone's mind is value. Affordability isn't always about being the cheapest, it is also about the quality you get for your dollar."
The Boeing Co. recently announced plans to move 550 high-paying engineering jobs here. The company cited low costs of living and doing business and economic development incentives in the decision to move the jobs from Long Beach, Calif.
OKLAHOMA CITY - It's time for Oklahoma City to take the next step in establishing long-lasting cultural changes by creating a large central park near downtown and improving the public mass transit system, Mayor Mick Cornett said Thursday.
While development in other major cities is being stymied by the economy, Oklahoma City is faring much better and should use the opportunity to show the country what a "big-league city" is capable of, Cornett said at the 10th annual State of the City address in downtown.
"While our momentum is still moving, and our position relative to the rest of the United States is strong, now is not the time to slow down," Cornett said. "From a quality-of-life perspective, there are two high-profile shortcomings, two areas that, if addressed, would dramatically further our ascension as a city where people want to live. The first is public transportation; the second is a centrally located, large public park."
Oklahoma City has earned attention lately for several good reasons, he said, including the planned construction of Devon Energy's skyscraper corporate headquarters, a citywide weight-loss initiative, the impending relocation of Interstate 40, and the acquisition of an NBA basketball team.
But one item rose above all others as the economy started slowing down, Cornett said: Forbes magazine citing Oklahoma City as the country's most recession-proof city.
"In a Golden Age for our city, while our economy is more than holding its own, while most of the rest of the country, in both the public and private sectors, is dealing with massive debt and in many cases bankruptcy, what do we do?" Cornett said.
"Other cities will cut back or raise taxes. They are, in many cases, going to close parks and stop investing in their infrastructure. Their progressive ideas about public transit and green initiatives will drop down the priority list," he said. "But we are not in that situation. ... There is every reason for us to take note of the economic calamity that is infecting much of the world, but there is no reason for us to stop what we're doing and change course."
Cornett came just short of declaring the launch of a MAPS-3 temporary tax issue initiative to pay for some sort of public transportation system upgrade - fixed rail, for example - a park in the so-called Core-to-Shore development zone north of the Oklahoma River, and a new convention center to attract tourism events.
In his 2006 State of the City address, Cornett kicked off a public survey to gauge initial response to the long-anticipated follow-up to the original MAPS, or Metropolitan Area Projects, and MAPS For Kids package of tax-funded projects. Feedback later that year revealed that residents overwhelmingly supported improvements in mass transit. Parks, recreation