Economic Growth Expected

Article excerpt

Two economists expect Oklahoma City's economy to continue on a path of growth as the city's economy has diversified and continued to create jobs in more areas.

The Oklahoma City economy as measured by an economic indicator, the General Business Index, prepared by Craig Knutson, an economist for Southwestern Bell Telephone, is expected to expand 3.2 percent in 1995 from a 2.6 rate in 1994 before dipping to a 2.8 percent growth rate in 1996.

Oklahoma City is expected to have 2.9 percent growth in the service sector in 1995. This growth will account for 70 percent of new jobs, according to the Oklahoma State University Economic Forecast Mid-Year Review. Strong growth in manufacturing is expected with a 5 percent increase in jobs, said Ahmed Abo-Basha, an economist for Oklahoma State University.

The Oklahoma City economy has experienced "troughs and peaks" over the past few years and now has an elongated business cycle and has continued to show steady growth, Knutson said.

The economy has been diversified and has become "private sector driven," he said.

Knutson said he has known for years that the Oklahoma City economy would have to show growth in the private sector to generate long-term steady growth.

Abo-Basha said that annual averages for non-farm payroll employment have benefited from the "remarkable growth" in 1994. Abo-Basha said he expects "a continuing dominant growth in the service sectors" for both Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

He said he also expected manufacturing to continue to be an area of growth in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

Abo-Basha and Knutson spoke at the Oklahoma City Economic Roundtable on "Oklahoma City's Economy: A Mid Year Review."

Knutson said his state and city economic forecasts have been "statuitively" filtered.

The statistics suggest a direction at the macroeconomic level, while his intuition provides a final number at the microeconomic level, he said.

Forecast assumptions generated by the general business index broken down by economic subsector include: Consumer Demand: As both quantity and the quality of jobs continues to improve consumers will have disposable income, he said. Interest rates are reasonable for both borrowers and investors, there is not much of an inventory overhang and there is not that much inflation. …