Modest Economic Growth Predicted by Osu `Outlook'

Article excerpt

Very modest economic growth is projected in Oklahoma during the second half of 1985, according to the Oklahoma Economic Outlook p repared by the Office of Business and Economic Research at Oklahoma State University.

"Although falling interest rates are expected to improve national and state economic activity during the second half of the year," the report said, "only very modest economic growth is projected for Oklahoma during its second year of economic recovery."

The Oklahoma economy, which began to recover in 1984, the forecast said, saw its manufacturing base start to weaken during the last quarter of the year and has registered very little activity during the first third of 1985.

"The most alarming trend during this time," the report said, "has been a loss of nearly 7,000 employees since October from an already reduced manufacturing base."

The loss of manufacturing employment is attributable to the weakness witnessed in the national manufacturing sector, to the relatively weak and uncertain oil price picture and to the continued glutconditions in the housing sector or the state's economy.

On the positive side, the forecast said, the supportive service sector and the state and local government complex continue to experience good growth and have helped fuel an increase of just over 10,000 nonagricultural wage and salary jobs in Oklahoma since January.

In addition, the unemployment rate in the state has fallen from a seasonal high of 8.4 percent in February to a rate of 6.9 percent in April.

Forecasts for major indicators of Oklahoma's economic activity are:

- Gross State Product will increase to $50.9 billion in 1985 from $48.6 billion in 1984.

"After controlling for inflation," the report said, "the real rate of economic growth for Oklahoma in 1985 should be near 1.8 percent."

This is evidence of continued modest recovery but considerably below the 3.2 percent real growth of 1984, the OSU study said.

The manufacturing sector, which led the recovery in 1984, is expected to grow by only 1.9 percent in 1985.

"Supplanting manufacturing as the 1985 growth leader will be the supportive services and the government sectors," the report said.

The supportive services sector is composed of wholesale and retail trade; finance, insurance and real estate; and services.

These industries are expected to rise by 2 percent to 3 percent over the course of the year. The construction, mining (oil and gas) and agriculture sectors are expected to show little progress.

- Nonagicultural wage and salary employment is expected to increase 1 percent to 11,700 in 1985, compared to a 1. …

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