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  • Cathy O'Connor

economic diversification stabilizes okc

Last week the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber hosted its annual State of the Economy event.

Several economists weighed in on our state’s economic well-being. A common theme among the experts was that even though our state has been affected by the drop in oil and gas prices, our city has endured the downturn better than in previous economic declines. This is due to intentional diversification of our economic base.

Agriculture and energy have always been key industries in Oklahoma. Understanding the significant impact of the industries’ cyclical highs and lows, our city leadership has focused on other areas of industry growth and opportunity to complement existing industry strengths.

A 2016 aerospace study by RegionTrack, commissioned by the chamber, shows more than 230 aerospace aviation and aerospace firms in our region, and the industry workforce has grown to more than 35,000 in the OKC metro. A recent example is Boeing’s operational expansion that doubled its new jobs in Oklahoma City. Like energy jobs, aerospace jobs tend to be high-paying. Average labor income in aerospace was approximately $72,818 per worker in 2015.

Biotech is another economic driver. Oklahoma City’s bioscience companies boast annual revenues of more than $6.7 billion and support 51,000 workers. In addition to research-industry partnerships with the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, the University Research Park is home to 38 science-based private companies. Most of the entities are within a 5-mile radius, offering fertile opportunities for collaboration and innovation.

Read more at The Journal Record.

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