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's 5.9 percent jobless rate for July remains the best in the country from a list of 372 metro areas with a population greater than 1 million, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.
That's recognition the city has earned in four previous months this year, as well as August, September, November and December of last year. The metro area also posted the second-lowest rate once in 2008 and three times this year.
In the latest federal and Oklahoma Employment Security Commission preliminary data released Tuesday, Tulsa's nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.8 percent was unchanged from June, while Lawton posted a 5.3 percent rate, down from 5.6 percent the previous month.
Oklahoma's unemployment rate was estimated at 6.4 percent for all civilian workers, including farm and ranch employees, compared with 6.6 percent in June, the Labor Department said.
In the metro area, there were 7,100 total nonfarm job losses for the month, the commission said. There were 6,500 fewer jobs in the service industry, with retail trades and food services each cutting 1,000 positions. The government sector posted a 5,400-job loss.
Nonfarm employment was down by 3,500 jobs over the month in the Tulsa area, with service industries shedding the most positions with 3,200, followed by 2,500 less jobs in government.
Less jobs at the state government level in Oklahoma City and Tulsa is mostly seasonal losses, from school positions lost during summer months, said commission economist Lynn Gray. But fewer jobs in food services and at drinking places in the metro area "is more the economy," he said.
The Lawton area posted 600 lost jobs for the month.
The Labor Department estimated the number of unemployed in Oklahoma fell by 4,000 in July.
"Employment and unemployment rates in the state seem to have stabilized over the last three months, after rates began escalating steadily from around 4 percent before the recession began almost two years ago," Oklahoma Bankers Association economist Keith Hazelton said.
"Rebounding crude oil prices, which have been on a roller coaster for more than a year, may be leading to increasing employment in the state's energy sector, although jobs gained in the oil industry likely are being offset partially by job losses in natural gas as prices briefly reached seven-year lows last month."
Beaver and Grant counties have the lowest unemployment at 4 percent, followed by Harper, Murray, Roger Mills and Texas counties with 4.1 percent.
McCurtain County had the highest at 11.5 percent.