Oklahoma is expected to see continued job growth in 2015, Oklahoma State University
economist Dan Rickman said Tuesday during the 2015 Oklahoma Economic Outlook Conference.
The conference is hosted each December by the Center for Applied Economic Research in OSU’s Spears School of Business. This year’s conference, held at the Metro Technology Centers at Springlake Campus in Oklahoma City, included discussions of economic conditions and prospects for Oklahoma and the United States.
Rickman projects that more than 30,000 jobs will be added to the Oklahoma workforce during the 12-month period beginning Jan. 1, 2015. The majority of those jobs are expected to be in administrative and support services and durable goods manufacturing (with more than 5,000 new jobs created in each sector). More than 4,000 jobs are expected to be created in both health services and the sector including accommodation, food services, leisure services and hospitality employment.
Other industries in which major job growth is forecast are construction (more than 3,000) and retail trade (1,800), said Rickman, Regents Professor of Economics and Oklahoma Gas and Electric Services Chair in Regional Economic Analysis.
“Declining oil prices is the major headwind facing the Oklahoma economy,” Rickman said. “The current forecast is for a minor decline in energy related employment in 2015, but the decline will prove to be greater should oil prices fall further.”
“The Oklahoma economy should be buoyed by stronger U.S. growth in 2015,” he added.
Within Oklahoma, Rickman forecasts strongest employment growth for the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. Non-metropolitan areas of Oklahoma will lag statewide and national employment growth.
Rickman concluded by saying that “longer term, aging of the state population and lower than average education and skills of the Oklahoma labor force present significant challenges to future growth.”
Others speaking at the conference were:
• Deidre D. Myers, Deputy Secretary of Commerce for Workplace Development, Oklahoma Department of Commerce;
• Chad Wilkerson, Vice President, Branch Executive and Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Oklahoma City branch.
• John Winters, Assistant Professor of Economics, Oklahoma State University.
• Hongbo Wang, Ph.D. student in the Department of Economics and Legal Students in Business, Oklahoma State University.
Sponsors of the conference were the Center for Applied Economic Research (CAER) at the Spears School of Business, CareerTech, Metro Technology Centers, and OSU’s Center for Executive and Professional Development.