Energy Helping to Keep OK Economy Strong
As 2012 comes to a close, many in Oklahoma are wondering what economists predict for the future in the Sooner State.
At 5.3% unemployment and a strong energy and manufacturing sector, Oklahoma’s looking pretty good.
But, more can be done according to speakers at the OSU Oklahoma Economic Outlook Conference at Metro Tech in Oklahoma City.
Especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math also known as STEM.
Deidre Myers with the Department of Commerce says right now, 50% of Oklahomans have at most a high school diploma.
“When we look at the jobs that are being created we know that nearly 50% of them are going to require a post-secondary skill and then another 30%, a bachelors’ degree or higher.”
The experts agree in the long term more needs be done to strengthen education in the state and help Oklahoma’s teachers.
For the short term, Oklahoma’s economy is strong.
OSU Economics Professor Dan Rickman says energy has helped grow the economy in rural as well as metro parts of the state and expects that to continue.
“I think they will kind of move together maybe not as robustly as we’ve had it, because we’ve had an unusually nice spurt, but we still think it’s a pretty healthy sector in this state.”
Rickman says employment should grow by 1.7% in 2013, a little below the more than 2% seen in 2012, mostly because of the drop in energy prices.
Of course all this depends on the so-called fiscal cliff which Rickman says if Congress doesn’t solve it growth will stop across the US and in Oklahoma.