The recent rise in energy prices will lead employment in the Oklahoma energy sector to stabilize and increase slightly in 2017, Oklahoma State University economist Dan Rickman said Tuesday during the 2017 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 the Springlake Campus in Oklahoma City, included presentations on the future of aerospace and its importance in Oklahoma. In addition, the featured speakers addressed national and state economic conditions.
“Oil prices have rebounded from their recent lows with the rebalancing of oil demand and supply,” said Rickman, Regents Professor of Economics and Oklahoma Gas and Electric Services Chair in Regional Economic Analysis. “Increased supply responses by oil producers to further price increases though will cause oil prices to stay within a narrow range near the current level in the upcoming year.”
Rickman projects that the end of the slide in the energy sector will turn Oklahoma’s economy onto a path of growth.
The level of total non-farm Oklahoma employment in 2017 is expected to average 0.4 percent higher than 2016, which would put it back on par with the average level of 2015. However, this is still well below the expected national employment growth of 1.2 percent.
Rickman forecasts the strongest growth in the state for construction, educational services, and leisure and hospitality services. Continued employment losses are forecast for the manufacturing sectors, though by much smaller numbers than in the previous year.
Within Oklahoma, the strongest growth is forecast for the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, followed by the Tulsa metropolitan area. Outside of the state’s two metropolitan areas, employment is forecast to continue to decline.
Others speaking at the conference were:
- Kurt Foreman, executive vice president of economic development at the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber;
- J. Brian Henderson, president, Cavanal Hill Investment Management;
- Lynette McKinnon, director, Rapid Response Modification Center, The Boeing Company.
Sponsors of the conference were the Center for Applied Economic Research (CAER) at the Spears School, CareerTech, Metro Technology Centers, Francis Tuttle Technology Center, and OSU’s Center for Executive and Professional Development.