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 residents can expect to spend less on building streets and bridges, thanks to receiving the highest debt rating possible from Standard & Poor's.
The move from AA+ to AAA puts the city into an elite group of the best municipal credits in the market.
"When it comes to economic news, this is as good as it gets," Mayor Mick Cornett said Tuesday in a news conference at City Hall.
Oklahoma City is the only city in the state to receive the top rating, which was released Monday. A few of the factors that contributed to Oklahoma City's high rating include:
City Manager Jim Couch credited a veteran city staff with making the rating possible. Some of the same staffers also have led in redevelopment plans for the Skirvin Hilton hotel, creation of the Dell campus along the Oklahoma River, and the luring of Bass Pro Shops to Bricktown.
Couch said the high ratings will translate into lower interest rates the city pays to sell bonds to fund major capital projects like streets, bridges, buses, sidewalks and trails and park improvements. Those savings, he said, will be available to spend on bond projects.
The city's next bond sale will be April 9, and Couch said the new rating ought to help the city in what has been a strained market since September's economic crash.
The rating also showed the national bond rating agencies' confidence in the city's investment climate, Couch said. Other comparable cities with a AAA rating include Phoenix, Austin, San Antonio, Denver, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Charlotte, Columbus and Seattle.