Attracting New Industries

Published: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 12:00 pm By: Alex Cameron Source: News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY - Even as the state's unemployment rate has made a steady decline in recent months, the work of those whose job is to try and create more jobs is certainly not done.

It never is, especially in a state like Oklahoma where the economy can be very fragile.

The tendency for crude oil and natural gas prices to fluctuate wildly, and unexpectedly, has made it abundantly clear in recent decades that the bottom can fall out of the state's leading industry at, seemingly, a moment's notice. And when that happens, as it did in the 1980s and just two years ago, there are suddenly thousands of people looking for work.

For that reason, even in the best of times, state leaders remain vigilant about making the economy more diverse and as business-friendly as possible.

"Government, in and of itself, does not create jobs," stated Governor Mary Fallin, in her 2017 State of the State address, "but it should provide the right environment to grow the economy."

At the state Capitol, the governor and legislative leaders have certain notions as to what constitutes the 'right environment' to grow jobs, and typically those things tend to be low taxes and less regulation.

Away from the Capitol, where the rubber meets the road and economic development professionals work to recruit new business, the priorities are slightly different.. 

"Traditionally, it's been sort of one of three things," said Roy Williams, President and CEO of the Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce.

Williams says, companies are typically looking for access to either a specific market, specific materials, or specific talent. He says, on the scale of location priorities, the three used to be equal, but no longer -- talent is now tops.

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