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.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - First lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday highlighted Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett's "This City Is Going on a Diet" initiative in a speech to a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington.
She urged the nation's mayors to join her in a campaign to reduce childhood obesity. She said locally elected leaders are among the first to see what's happening to the people in their communities.
A formal rollout of her program is planned for next month. Obama has said she will look to businesses and nonprofits, community and health centers, educators, religious leaders and government to help.
She cited Cornett's "This City Is Going On A Diet" initiative and the program's Web site as an American anti-obesity success story.
"Mayor Mick Cornett challenged the people of Oklahoma City to lose a million pounds, and he created a Web site - thiscityisgoingonadiet.com - where people can learn how to lose weight and track their weight loss, and can share personal stories and tips with others," the first lady said. "So far, 40,000 people have signed up - and together, they've lost more than half a million pounds."
Obama commended Cornett for using his "bully pulpit."
"That's what Mayor Cornett did, when he started talking about the problem of obesity and lost 40 pounds himself to get down to his target weight," she said. "And the people of his city took notice. When he goes to restaurants now, everyone watches what he orders."
Cornett launched his program on Dec. 31, 2007.
"We are honored to continue receiving attention for this initiative and I think these remarks by the first lady are further validation that we have successfully opened up a serious community dialogue about obesity," Cornett said. "We still have a lot of work to do in Oklahoma City, but the statement we're making about our personal health has captured the attention of the first lady, and that's a great compliment to our citizens."
In June, the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors will be in Oklahoma City for the first time. - Staff report, Associated Press