Q2 2012 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Commercial Real Estate Economy

CRE Resources

View our Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Submarket Map

Q2 2012 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Commercial Real Estate Economy

Here’s something you don’t see much of in the world outside China these days: metropolitan Oklahoma City has a labor shortage. Household-based data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the number of employed residents of metro OKC, including the self-employed, show an increase of 20,000 (3.7%) year-over-year in July 2012. Strong labor force growth of 15,200 (2.6%) was not enough to prevent the unemployment rate from falling below 5.0%. While household average incomes are relatively low here, their current trajectory shows improved bargaining power for workers, with a 4.7% year-over-year gain in the second quarter according to Moody’s Economy.com. The second quarter median existing home price here, meanwhile, is low at $139,100 and down 2.9% from a year earlier according to the National Association of Realtors.

According to Current Employment Survey (CES) data from the BLS, total non-farm payroll employment increased by 17,000 (3.0%) from July 2011 to July 2012. The private sector gain was even larger at 18,400 (4.1%), offset by a decrease of 1,400 (1.3%) in the public sector. Private sector employment gains are widespread. Among the industrial sectors, Manufacturing gained 2,300 jobs (7.1%) in the year to July, Mining and Logging increased by 1,800 (10.4%), Wholesale Trade increased by 800 (3.4%) and Transportation and Utilities rose by 300 (1.9%). There were substantial employment increases, as well, among office-based sectors, with Financial Activities gaining 800 jobs (2.5%) and Professional and Business Services adding 5,800 (7.9%). Included in the latter is an increase of 1,400 (9.5%) in the Employment Services industry, which includes temporary workers, an increase of 800 (13.8%) in Management of Companies and Enterprises, headquarters establishments.

While income is rising fast, according to Moody’s Economy.com, the population is growing at a national average rate of about 1.1% per-year (about 14,500 people here). Even so the growth of consumer-driven sectors is enormous. CES data for July show year-over-year increases of 5,600 (9.3%) in Retail Trade and 4,800 (8.1%) in Leisure and Hospitality. Only the Construction sector remained weak, with a loss of 1,700 jobs (6.5%). The American City Business Journals ranked Oklahoma City first among U.S. metro areas for having a strong economy in September, because “workers’ earnings have grown faster in Oklahoma City than in any other market during the past year (11.9%), and the unemployment rate (4.8%) is lower than anywhere but Omaha.” “Strong job growth and

an active consumer base have companies outside the region taking notice,” according to Texas Real Estate Business. “Having a successful NBA franchise and consistently sold out games have attracted more retailers to the city‚ĶThe city ranked third in retail employment growth in 2011.”