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.
"You have the opportunity to do things you're passionate about and still can figure out a way, from a business perspective, where everyone wins."
- Scott Booker, Manager, The Flaming Lips
April 15 (Bloomberg) -- Oklahoma City has plenty of experience with banking crises. That's helping it avoid most of the fallout from this one.
The 1982 failure of Penn Square Bank, based in an Oklahoma City shopping center, triggered a national crisis and a decade of economic misery for the area. So many banks went down that locals dubbed Oklahoma City "Home of the FDIC," the federal agency that seizes insolvent institutions.
In the aftermath, the city rebuilt its economy on the basis of careful lending practices, diversified industries and debt- free public projects -- the kind of approach disdained in many other parts of the country, local leaders say. Now, Oklahoma City's unemployment rate, 5.6 percent, is the second-lowest of any U.S. metropolitan area; median home prices have increased every year since 2004, even as other Sunbelt cities are posting year-over-year declines of 30 percent or more.
"We're growing at a nice clip; it's very slow, very steady and very solid," said Mayor Mick Cornett. "I will admit that when I saw what was going on in Phoenix and Las Vegas years ago, I was envious. But I call that crazy growth."
The metro area of 1.3 million people -- along with states such as Wyoming, the Dakotas, Nebraska and Iowa -- offers a road map for building a stronger economy without the excesses that lead to booms and busts, said Martin Holdrich, senior economist at Woods & Poole Economics Inc. in Washington, which analyzes data and makes forecasts for every county in the country.
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