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 - When employees tried to explain what made their company one of the four Oklahoma businesses to be listed Thursday in Fortune's annual 100 Best Companies to Work For, they immediately cited their co-workers - "the people."
American Fidelity Assurance employee Dena Prince gets some pizza for lunch to celebrate the company making Fortune's annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. (Photo by Maike Sabolich)
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After a little more prompting, however, Oklahoma City-based American Fidelity Assurance employees and workers at QuikTrip Corp. in Tulsa confirmed Fortune's own findings: Health care benefits help ensure company loyalty and a healthy staff that enjoys coming to work.
"With a family of four, medical benefits alone are astronomical these days," Art Director Angela Keeler said between slices of pizza at American Fidelity Assurance's lunch party celebrating the ranking. "But the company keeps kicking in more and more money so we don't notice the increase. The dollar match for benefits is significant."
And QuikTrip store manager Micah Brown said he's been impressed that his company now provides its own in-house physician. Brown has worked for the company 12 years.
"When I go to the doctor to choke out a cold or something like that, my prescriptions are taken care of for me. Flu shots and all that are free," he said. "It's probably the neatest benefit right now."
Life insurance provider American Fidelity Assurance ranked 46th in Fortune's list, down slightly from last year's rating at 24th. Convenience store chain QuikTrip was ranked 27th, up a position from 28th last year.
Oklahoma City-based energy giants Chesapeake and Devon also made the list again this year. Chesapeake slipped a little, down to 73rd place from 61st last year, while Devon climbed to the highest position among Oklahoma's representatives at 13th overall, up from 48th last year.
Also making the list at No. 70 was Stanley, an information technology consultation firm that focuses on government agencies. The Arlington, Va.-based company employs about 250 people in Lawton.
The annual list is based in large part on a survey by the Great Places to Work Institute, an international research and consulting firm. The 57-question survey was sent to employees at more than 350 companies nationwide. Two thirds