Export figures place city among top 100

Published: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 7:00 am By: Staff Reports

The Oklahoman

The Oklahoma City area produced $3.9 billion in exports in 2008, ranking it 63rd among the nation's 100 largest metro areas, according to a new report by the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.

"Export Nation: How U.S. Metros Lead National Export Growth and Boost Competitiveness" is a comprehensive analysis of the export of goods and services produced in the nation's 100 largest metro areas.

Exports accounted for 7.5 percent of Oklahoma City's total economy in 2008 and supported 41,001 jobs, according to the report.

Recent export growth in Oklahoma City has been about average, expanding at 9.9 percent. Average wages were $43,348, about the U.S. average.

"Over the last few decades, wages have been fairly stagnant for most middle-class Americans, but wages in exporting industries can remedy that to a large extent because they are the most innovative sectors of the economy, and they're the industries with the greatest potential for long-term, sustainable growth," said Jonathan Rothwell, a senior research analyst with Brookings and one of the report's co-authors.

The Oklahoma City area's major export industries are machinery manufacturing; transportation equipment; business, professional and technical services; tourism; and royalties from intellectual property. The largest export markets are Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Japan, China and Germany.

The Tulsa area produced $5.5 billion in exports in 2008, ranking it ahead of Oklahoma City at No. 52. Exports accounted for 13.8 percent of Tulsa's total economy in 2008 and supported 53,501 jobs, according to the report.

Export growth in Tulsa between 2003 and 2008 was robust, expanding at 15.7 percent. Average wages in its largest export industry - machinery manufacturing - were $54,195.

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