Positive job growth expected to continue in 2020
According to the upcoming Greater Oklahoma City Economic Forecast, the Oklahoma City MSA is expected to have positive job growth for the fourth consecutive year in 2020. Approximately, 2,900 jobs will be added to the Oklahoma City metro next year.
Last year was a healthy one for the local economy as job growth was 1.2% or 7,900 jobs. While positive job growth is expected for 2020, the rate might soften to 0.5%. The report states that while the metro is less dependent on the national economy and energy industry than the rest of the state, it is not wholly immune to the uncertainties they might cause.
Looking back at 2019, the largest year-over-year job gains came from construction, wholesale trade, scientific and technical services and health services.
Jobs in the construction industry alone grew by 8.3%. In 2020, the total construction value of contract projects is expected to increase by 2%. That growth is projected to come from a combination of both non-residential and residential projects.
Another bright spot for the Oklahoma City economy is the continued low unemployment rate. 2019 saw an average unemployment rate of just 3.1%. This ranked among the lowest 25 for metros with more than one million population.
While a low unemployment rate is great for the metro, it also means growing the Oklahoma City population is vital for keeping up with the workforce needs of local businesses. When 2019 U.S. Census population figures are released, it will show the Oklahoma City metro has grown to just over 1.4 million people.
By 2020, it is expected the Oklahoma City metro will have added more than 150,000 new residents over the past decade. Going back even further, the metro has grown by nearly a quarter-million people since 2005. That represents an annual average growth rate of 1.5%, nearly double the national average.
Keeping positive population growth is critical for Oklahoma City. The report states it is vital to recruit new businesses and help existing companies grow because population gains follow job growth.
According to the report, another economic trend to which you should pay attention is urbanization and how that benefits the two largest metros in the state. Combined, the Oklahoma City and Tulsa MSAs now account for 68% of the state’s GDP, 67% of personal income and 61% of the total population.
The full Greater Oklahoma City Forecast will be released next month.