Then the 1980s came and hard times fell upon Oklahoma. Growth slowed to 8.6% during the 80s and picked back up slightly to 15% for the 90s, and it will barely peek above 10% for the 2000s unless net migration suddenly picks way up. Looking at this population growth, can we honestly say that right NOW in 2008, OKC's economy is back to being out of the recession?
Sure, one can point to all of the great rankings. Most Recession Proof City, in a nutshell. That speaks wonders as a testiment to a city's sound fiscal policies. Mayor Mick should be proud (and is). But on closer examination, can't one conclude that this current recession is leveraged on the collapse of high-finance? Something Oklahoma isn't really effected by. Some of the places most affected by this recession include California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, and Georgia--some of the states that benefited the most from economic expansion ever since the oil bust. Their economies grew so much that money was being thrown around freely and carelessly, eventually causing chaos in the financial system. In OKC money was never being thrown around freely and carelessly (whether you agree with that or not, everyone agrees there was never a housing bubble here). We were not a part of the high, and we are not a part of the low. But presuming that the rest of the nation's economy recovers soon--where does that leave Oklahoma?
I see two scenarios:
- The first is one of prosperity, because once the credit markets thaw there will be a lot of money to invest in real estate. Developers will be looking for markets that are deemed very safe, which would be OKC.
- The second one is one of average plight. OKC goes back to being nothing special, as companies will consider it safe to invest or even "over-invest" in glamorous locations with the best demographics.