In 2022, the Oklahoma City metro should continue to show strong growth through the first half of the year. Anticipated job growth for Oklahoma City reflects an expectation of a strong start to the year and continued demand for labor that should result in job counts exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
These findings were released today as part of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber’s annual Greater Oklahoma City Economic Outlook. The Outlook provides a comprehensive analysis of the national, state and metro economies. It details historic trends, a snapshot of the current situation, as well as a forecast for 2022.
Looking back at 2021, year-over-year nonfarm annual job growth increased 1.7% or gained 10,825 jobs in the Oklahoma City MSA. The largest percentage year-over-year job gains were found in the leisure services (+7.7%), administrative support (+5.6%), transport/ warehouse/utilities (+5.1%), health services (+4.3%), retail trade (+4.0%), manufacturing (+3.7%), accommodation & food services (+2.8%), financial services (+1.7%), and professional & business services (+1.5%) sectors.
The largest declines were found in mining or oil & gas (-23.4%), information (-9.6%), management (-7.5%), government (-1.9%), and wholesale trade (-1.8%).
Positive Oklahoma City metro nonfarm job growth in 2022 is expected, with the baseline job forecast scenario growing by 4.1% or adding approximately 25,900 jobs by the end of 2022.
The Oklahoma City metro completed 2021 with an annual average unemployment rate for the entire year at approximately 3%. Monthly unemployment rates ranged as high as 4.9% (Feb. 2021) and as low as 1.6% (Dec. 2021). Oklahoma City finished out the year ranked among the lowest unemployment rates for large metros with more than 1 million in population. Unemployment rates in the final few months of the year for OKC were among the lowest ever experienced in the metro in more than 30 years.
Every ten years, through the U.S. Census, we can tangibly see how businesses and talent view a community. Nearly 20% of all metros and more than half of all the counties in the nation lost population from 2010 to 2020.
Population growth or decline ultimately determines the overall health of a local economy and points to a city’s ability to attract talent. For OKC, population growth continues to be a positive story.
Since 2010, the Oklahoma City metro has grown by 14%, adding approximately 170,000 people. That is the largest decade-over-decade raw population gain in the past 50 years. Five of the seven counties in the Oklahoma City metro experienced double-digit growth over that period. Canadian County continued to be the fastest-growing county in the state, growing 33% since 2010.
According to Dodge, in 2021 the total construction value of tracked contract projects (residential, non-residential, and non-building infrastructure) in the Oklahoma City MSA was $3.9 billion. That was 12% more than the prior year. The largest positive year-over-year percentage gains were found in the hospitals & health treatment, warehouses, amusement, office & bank buildings, and garages/service station categories. The largest year-over-year construction value declines were in schools & colleges, religious, and hotels and motels, and streets & highways categories.
For 2022, the total construction value of contract projects in Oklahoma City is forecasted by Dodge to be relatively flat and decline by 3%.
For the seven-county Oklahoma City metropolitan area, 2021 calendar year total taxable retail sales increased by 12.7% from 2020 totals. That is the largest year-over-year increase in at least 30 years. At approximately $25.5 billion, the Oklahoma City metro accounts for more than 41% of the taxable retail sales for the entire state of Oklahoma and 36% of the state’s population. This continues to make the Oklahoma City metro a driving force for retail trade in the state.
For FY 2021 (July 2020 to June 2021 remittance), sales tax collections for the City of Oklahoma City finished strong, up 2.4% percent over the prior year. Use tax collections also finished 14% over the prior year, driven by online retail sales. Sales tax collections by surrounding cities in the metro also increased overall in FY 2021. Cities seeing increases include Norman, Edmond, Moore, Midwest City and Yukon.
Per the Price Edwards 2021 OKC Year End Retail Market Summary, retail vacancy in the Oklahoma City market increased to 10.1% at year end, up slightly from 9.7% a year ago but improved from 11.6% at mid-year 2021.
A few select retailers that announced or opened in the Oklahoma City metro in 2021 include Capitol Co-Op, Bob’s Steakhouse, Bandee’s BBQ, MetroMerch, The Old Spaghetti Factory, The Truck Yard, City & State, Summer Moon Coffee, Homeland, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Crumbl Cookies, Sam’s Southern Eatery, Costco, and Mathis Brothers Furniture.
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