Economist Predicts OKC's Future With Lagging Oil & Gas Prices

Tuesday, February 10th 2015, 4:41 pm
By: Karl Torp

Oklahoma City leaders said they are learning just how hard falling gas prices are hurting the city's bottom line.

Tuesday, the man hired to predict Oklahoma City's economic future gave his report to City Council members.

"We are seeing the lag of oil price that really began late summer and fall," said Oklahoma City University Economist Russell Evans.

Evans said Oklahoma City is just now seeing fewer oil rigs activated and more people filing for unemployment.

Evans said Oklahoma City will not see the type of growth in 2015 that it has had for the last five years.

"We've been growing at three percent a year in private employment growth, our baseline forecast is for one and half percent this year,” said Evans.

Just recently, companies like Post Rock Energy, Chaparral and Sandridge announced layoffs totaling 400 jobs.

Evans forecasted 1,000 payroll oil and gas jobs will be lost statewide due to oil prices, excluding contract workers now getting fewer jobs.

The current price of oil is at $52 per/barrel. Evans said he thinks prices will climb to $60 per/barrel by 2016 and average $65 per/barrel throughout next year.

Due in part to less revenue because of oil prices, every Oklahoma City department with the exception of police and fire and rescue is being asked to cut their budgets by one percent. 

12/16/2015 Related Story: Lower Gas Prices Raise Concerns For State Officials