Chamber Economist Expects Economic, Job Growth to Continue in Tulsa Through 2021

Dec 6, 2018

Steady yet modest economic and job growth in the Tulsa area should continue for the next few years.

"The growth in Tulsa gross product, the production of all goods and services, is going to be about nearly 7 percent, about 70 percent more than what 2018 will be for the state. And that rate of 8 percent growth in 2019 is about double the rate for the state," said Tulsa Regional Chamber Director of Economic Research Bob Ball.

Manufacturing output should grow at a faster pace than gross product this year before falling behind in 2019.

Speaking at the chamber's annual State of the Economy event, Ball said he expects 2.6 percent job growth this year, 2.4 in 2019, and an average of 1.6 percent through 2021. Ball said health care will slip below those figures after years of rapid job growth.

"It has grown faster than total employment across the economy. Now it’s growing at a slower rate than the economy. Because Boomers have kind of been carrying the health care, I kind of like to think that we’re having fewer knee and hip issues, but I’m afraid it’s because we’re dying," Ball said.

Ball expects manufacturing job growth will continue at an above-average clip, with machinery manufacturing seeing the highest rates.

The expected growth doesn’t mean everyone will have the job they want. Around 15,000 workers will fall under Ball's definition of under-employed — working part-time or temporary jobs but seeking permanent positions.

"Sixty-three percent of them are age 19 to 44 … and over a third of that 19 to 44 group is between 35 and 44. There’s a lot of young people out there seeking permanent employment that are working temporarily," Ball said.

Ball said industry training programs are a good way to get under-employed workers ready for permanent jobs.