Oklahoma Economy Dependent on Energy, Analyst Says

Friday, February 13th 2009, 7:27 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Dr. Mark Snead, one of Oklahoma's top economic forecasters, fielded questions about the stimulus bill Friday at Oklahoma State University's Center for Applied Economic Research.

The organization has been crunching numbers and reviewing recent history, and Snead believes Oklahoma and Oklahoma City will weather the current economic storm.

Doctor Snead showed a crowd at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon how the local economy has done very well, for the most part, in past recessions.

Snead said the recession is energy-driven, at least in part. Last year's high fuel prices having helped drive costs up and spending down.
Being an energy state, Snead said Oklahoma's economy benefitted from the fuel prices, insulating us from the full brunt of the recession, and putting us in a position, potentially, he says, to rebound quickly.

"If energy prices go back up, the state legitimately could just start humming again throughout '09 and we could again completely ignore this," Snead said.

Snead also commented on the stimulus plan being debated in Congress.

"At best, it will have only a marginal impact in 2009," Snead said.

This year, Snead said, he's projecting just small job losses in Oklahoma.

"The big factor, the big risk factor is energy prices," Snead said. "If energy prices continue to soften, if the national economy remains weak, we think that it's not necessarily 2009 that's the big risk year for Oklahoma. It's 2010."

Snead said Oklahoma's economy would outperform the national economy and if energy prices go up this year, he believes our economy will start clicking again.