8,000 fewer private sector jobs in 2016 than 2015. As measured by employment, the state narrowly skirted a significant recessionary period. As measured by gross state product, the state suffered a recession very similar to the experience of 2009. In 2016, unemployment rates for the state and the Oklahoma City metro ticked upward compared to the nation. September 2016 was the first time in 26 years that the state’s unemployment rate (5.0 percent) topped the nation (4.9 percent). In comparison, while Oklahoma City also experienced an increase in unemployment, it remained competitive with other large metros. Oklahoma City MSA has been among the 25 lowest unemployment large metros (over one million population) for six years (about 72 consecutive months). The Oklahoma City metro ended 2016 with an annual average unemployment rate for the year a little over 4 percent, with monthly unemployment rates ranging as low as 3.6 percent and as high 4.7 percent. The 2017 outlook Both national economic conditions and activity in the oil and gas sector should improve to something that resembles full health by the end of 2017. Just as the state’s economy was hit by the dual headwinds in 2016, it should benefit from dual tailwinds in 2017. The year ahead is anticipated to be a year of recovery and economic improvement. The depth of the improvement will depend on how early in the year the state’s economy transitions to strength and how strong the second half of the year proves to be. Oil and gas
employment continues to hold steady but has yet to show signs of significant gains. This will likely be the case for 2017, with hiring activity picking up in the second half of the year. The baseline expectation is for a holding pattern to dominate 2017 before growing at 3.7 percent in 2018. Oklahoma City’s population continues to grow at an average annual rate of 1.6 percent trending towards 1.4 million in 2018 and reaching 1.5 million by 2021. Since 2010, the Oklahoma City MSA is the 10th fastest- growing large metro in the country and has grown more than twice as fast as the nation. Given current growth rates, the Oklahoma City metro will exceed 2 million residents before the year 2040. In 2016, slowing income growth combined with population gains are projected to leave per capita income unchanged. Per capita income is expected to return to growth in 2017 and 2018 at rates of 2.2 percent and 1.6 percent respectively. Baseline expectations are for per capita income to reach $47,818 by 2018. The Chamber’s annual forecast provides a comprehensive analysis of the national, state and metro economies, including a historic trends analysis, an overview of the current economic situation and a forecast of the upcoming year. To read the full publication, visit www.okcchamber.com/forecast.
THE POINT - FEBRUARY 2017 5
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