Oklahoma Economy Growth Lags: Federal Reserve Report

Oklahoma employment has grown much more slowly than in the rest of the nation since 2013, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City said in a report.

The lag largely has been driven by difficulties in the oil and gas sector, but technological changes in other sectors also took a toll on jobs, such as in the newspaper, telemarketing and auto rental industries, the bank said.

Oklahoma’s job growth in 2019 has slowed to well below the national rate, the report said.  Except for a few months early last year, Oklahoma’s year-over-year rate of employment growth now has been lower than the nation in every month since April 2013.

However, the sluggishness followed a decade in which state job growth outpaced the nation nearly 90% of the time.  And, some Oklahoma industries still thrived during this overall sluggish period, the Fed said.  The pay in many of these industries is similar to that of jobs in industries that have been declining.

Although the overall average pay is lower, the warehousing and storage industry has more than doubled its number of jobs in the state since 2013, and the high-paying aerospace industry has nearly done so, the bank said.

Several health-care industries also have grown rapidly, as have well-paying blue-collar industries like building equipment contractors and pipeline construction, the report said.  In the hospitality realm, restaurants, casinos and recreation centers likewise have added thousands of jobs.  And while the state’s computer systems design industry remains smaller than in the country as a whole, its rate of employment growth has outpaced the nation since 2013.




The extended period of slower job growth in Oklahoma is not unprecedented, the bank said.  Statewide job growth also lagged the nation from 1982 to 1989, and by a much wider margin.

However, the effects of weaker overall job growth the past six years have begun to add up, the Fed said.  From mid-2013 through mid-2019, Oklahoma employment has grown only 4%, while national employment grew 11%.

Moreover, Oklahoma has had more residents move to other states in recent years than have moved in — especially those with college degrees, the report said.

Looking across broad categories of industries for which timely monthly data are available, the largest drops in Oklahoma jobs over the past year and the past six years have been in the mining sector, the Fed said.  This decline was driven by the sharp downturn in oil prices in 2014-15 as well as by subsequent and historic efficiency gains in the sector.

The state’s manufacturing sector also lost jobs over the past year and past six years, even though the sector expanded nationally, the report said.

Employment in Oklahoma’s state and local government sector also is down slightly, the bank said.

Meanwhile, several broad sectors of the Oklahoma economy continued to add jobs over the past year and the past six years, with the fastest growth in transportation and construction, the Fed said.




Cash cattle trade last week was at $100 to $103 per cwt on a live basis, $2 to $5 lower than the previous week.  Dressed-basis trade was at $160 to $167, $4 to $10 lower.

The USDA choice cutout Monday was down $0.36 per cwt at $226.95, while select was off $0.02 at $201.92.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $25.03 from $25.37 with 88 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Friday was $137.77 per cwt, down $0.59 from the previous day.  This compares with Monday’s Sep contract settlement of $132.82, down $0.52.