Oklahoma City,Tulsa make list of strong U.S. cities

Published: Saturday, October 24, 2009 7:00 am By: Debbie Blossom

The Oklahoman

A survey of the country's strongest metro areas has put Oklahoma's two largest cities in the spotlight.

Oklahoma City was ranked third and Tulsa was seventh in a BusinessWeek report on the country's 40 strongest metro areas.

And the report said America's strongest economies shared one thing: home prices that never got too high or too low.

The report cited Oklahoma City as an oil and natural gas center and mentioned the metro as home to Devon Energy Corp. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. Gross metropolitan product in the second quarter was down just 0.8 percent from a peak in 2008's last quarter, and home prices grew 2.1 percent in the second quarter compared with the same period a year earlier, BusinessWeek said.

The report also listed the unemployment rate in June at 6.6 percent, up from 4.5 percent a year earlier.

Oklahoma City was one of several metro areas in which home prices remained steady through boom and bust, while the state was bolstered by its oil and gas industries.

Tulsa has remained relatively stable in large part because of the oil and gas industry, the report said, and named area companies Arena Resources, an oil and gas producer, and AAON Inc., a rooftop heating and air-conditioning unit maker.

In the BusinessWeek report, Marisa Di Natale, a director at Moody's Economy.com, said late arrivals to the recession generally will experience milder downturns. These metros "haven't had a big erosion in housing wealth, which has kept consumer spending stronger than it would otherwise be," Di Natale said.

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