Midwest City Index to Assist Economic Development Work

Article excerpt

Journal Record Staff Reporter

Midwest City's new General Business Index was designed to assist local economic development by providing existing businesses and prospects with information specific to the area.

"Midwest City is part of the metro, but it is separate," said Steve Smith, economics professor at Rose State College who prepared the document.

"You can look at metro figures, but businesses locate in a part of the metro area. This allows them to look at specific data if they are considering Midwest City."

The Midwest City index is the first of its kind to provide detailed analysis of such a tightly focused segment within a Metropolitan Statistical Area. It was prepared by Smith for the Midwest City Economic Development Commission in cooperation with the Center for Economic and Management Research at the University of Oklahoma and Southwestern Bell Telephone Co.

The first Midwest City index was produced in November 1992, and the year-end analysis was released late this week.

"We saw that this could be a service for economic development if we built and produced a local GBI. It could be given to local businesses or prospects. The Midwest City Economic Development Commission agreed to help with data collection."

The index is based on the model by Bell economist Craig Knutson, who prepares general business indexes for Oklahoma, and the metro areas of Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

The Midwest City index was created by adjusting the Oklahoma City index to reflect the structure of Midwest City's economy and the availability of data.

"Local business people are interested in what is driving the economy locally. Maybe Midwest City responds to different stimuli than Oklahoma City," Smith said.

"This is a value for any business person who is now here or is considering moving here."

Smith began working on the creation of the index about two years ago, when he and the local economic development commission began gathering the Midwest City-specific data. The information collected covers the period from 1980 to 1992.

After the data is collected, the information is taken to the OU Center, which runs the statistics on its computer according to the Bell model. OU also provides computer analysis of the information.

Smith said the index is an excellent example of private enterprise and different public colleges working together to produce something of value to the community. …