Oklahoma's economic state looks promising

Friday, March 14th 2008, 7:26 pm
By: News 9

By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9

Stocks have ended the week with another three-digit drop. While the picture on the national level is looking gloomy, experts say the economy in Oklahoma is different from the rest of the country.

With oil, gas and agriculture driving our state, experts say Oklahoma's economy isn't currently, and won't be, struck as hard as the rest of the country.

"Since we have such a presence of high energy companies, more money flows back to Oklahoma, especially in Oklahoma City," Roy Williams, President of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, said.

NEWS 9 spoke with Greater Oklahoma City Chamber President Roy Williams and Professor of Economics Steve Agee to get their perspective on how the nation's economic struggles could trickle down to Oklahoma.

"I think we probably have seen a little bit of slow down but the economy in Oklahoma is very strong over the rest of the nation," Agee said.

The biggest issues include gas prices, consumer spending and the housing market.

With skyrocketing prices at the pump, experts say it's hard to tell if the increase will continue.

"No one in Oklahoma has an impact on the price of oil because there's just not enough producers in Oklahoma to affect the price," Agee said. "We all just basically have to accept the price of oil and gasoline as a result of the refining process."

While that process is uncertain, they both agree that Oklahoma consumers are still spending wisely.

"We'll probably see some slowing down in retail sales purchasing," Williams said.

Many states are facing the nightmares of foreclosures. But here at home, the housing market and statistics tell a different story.

"The residential construction market is off about 20 to 22 percent nationwide," Agee said. "That's not happening here in Oklahoma."

Agee told NEWS9 their school of business is conducting a consumer confidence survey. Survey questions address how the mortgage crisis affected you and how gas prices change the way you spend money. Survey results should be ready by next week.

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