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Treasurer: Economy is slowing

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By Stacey Cameron, NEWS 9

After years of steady growth, Oklahoma's economy is beginning to show signs of slowing, says State Treasurer Scott Meachum.

Paula Hayes is with the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants or CPAs. Her group recently polled accountants across the state, they agree with Meachum

Hey group predicts rising health care costs and high gas prices will keep the Sooner State economy in the status quo.

"Gas prices affect everybody," Hayes said. "They affect all the products. The marketing. Taking things to market. It affects people going to work."

While high gas prices may keep some people at home, Oklahoma's higher educational system is driving others out of state. The reason is not because the state's colleges and universities are bad, it's because out of state employers are working to lure away recent Oklahoma graduates.

"Which kind of keeps the economy lower because the wages are not increasing as fast," Hayes said. "Because the educated people are not here to take those jobs."

President Bush is acknowledging some economic trouble in the U.S. with the housing market slumping nationally, and unemployment on the rise across the country.

Hayes says Oklahoma's economy isn't that bad off. 

"Oklahoma is probably not any worse off than anyone else. I just don't think it's making the gains we once did," Hayes said.

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