The Tulsa MSA comprises seven counties: Creek, Okmulgee, Osage, Pawnee, Rogers, Tulsa and Wagoner, whose aggregate population is estimated to be 981,005 or 25.1 percent of the population of the state of Oklahoma. The gross product or value of all goods and services produced in the seven-county MSA is estimated to be $49.3 billion (2009 dollars), or 30.3 percent of the Oklahoma economy.
Tulsa’s major industries are aerospace, including aerospace manufacturing and aviation; health care; energy; machinery and electrical equipment manufacturing; transportation, distribution and logistics. Several clusters, or groups of companies within industries that buy or sell to each other in the manufacture of goods for export from the area, have disproportionately large concentrations of employment relative to the U.S. concentrations and are positioned to grow within the Tulsa MSA: Aerospace parts manufacturing is 2.4 times more concentrated in the Tulsa MSA than in the U.S.; oil and gas production and machinery manufacturing, 8.4 times more concentrated; and pump and compressor manufacturing, 20.5 times more concentrated. Tulsa’s concentration of fabricated metal product manufacturing is 2.5 times the U.S. concentration, but its heat-exchanger manufacturing sub-cluster is 43.2 times more concentrated than at the U.S. level. General qualities that attract new companies to Tulsa to grow these clusters are a sound infrastructure, a cost of doing business that is 14 percent below the U.S. average and a cost of living that is nine percent below the U.S. average. The strong concentrations of employment in these Tulsa-area clusters indicate that the Tulsa-area clusters are important to their respective industries nationwide and that they absolutely are important locally.
Tulsa’s infrastructure for business includes the Port of Catoosa, an inland port that makes bulk shipping to and from coastal ports accessible and economical, and two central networks for broadband interconnect. Plugging Tulsa’s target producing and service sectors into Tulsa’s formidable infrastructure requires a quality work force and Tulsa’s work force is known and paid for its productivity. Steady, albeit slow job growth exists in Tulsa, even with a large decline in oil prices, and attracting and retaining young professionals and skilled workers are key to ensuring continued economic growth. WalletHub.com in 2015 ranked Tulsa the number one city for young entrepreneurs in the U.S., and the NerdWallet.com ranked also in 2015 Tulsa the number two best U.S. city for starting a business.
After solid growth in employment and gross product in 2014, declining oil prices took a toll on jobs in the Tulsa region. In 2015, Tulsa lost 1,750 jobs in oil and gas extraction, well-servicing and machinery manufacturing. Beyond lower oil prices, a strong dollar and relatively weak global demand for capital goods combined to constrain growth in Tulsa-area manufacturing. In 2014, the Tulsa economy grew faster than the U.S. In 2015, Tulsa-area employment grew 0.7 percent, one-third the growth rate of the U.S., and Tulsa real gross product contracted 0.3 percent while Oklahoma and the U.S. grew at 1.2 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. Despite slower growth due to low oil prices, weak global demand and a strong dollar, the Chamber was able to announce 4,900 jobs in new and expanding industries. Because of Tulsa’s cost of doing business of 15 percent under the U.S. average due to low rent, energy costs and taxes, Tulsa in 2016 will continue to be a prime location for industry prospects looking to relocate or expand at a steady pace. In 2016, Tulsa’s gross product of goods and services should grow 0.6 to $49.7 billion. After growing 0.7 percent in 2015, employment growth in 2016 will be cut in half to 0.3 percent due to persistent low oil prices which should stabilize by the end of the third quarter.
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