Okay, so there was a 5.3 percent drop in mining jobs last year in Tulsa, Oklahoma, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). But these days, mining accounts for less than two percent of the 400,000 jobs in this booming metropolitan area of almost 800,000 residents. Almost every other sector of Tulsa’s job market shows a steady increase.
In fact, according to the Greater Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, Tulsa ranks eighth among the top cities in the Southwest for high-tech employment, and third nationwide for emerging businesses in high-tech transportation equipment, defense and energy industries.
Furthermore, the number of jobs in Metro Tulsa, which boasts an unemployment rate of 2.7 percent (BLS figure), may even rise by 12 percent in 2005.
A Host of Healthy Industries
While the last decade saw a decrease in mining jobs, the Chamber’s Economic Development Division noted an increase in the following types of positions:
Type of Position – Additional Number of Jobs
Executive, administrative and managerial – More than 13,000
Professional and technical – More than 16,400
Precision, craft and repair – Almost 10,000
Assembly and inspection – 5,300
Service – 12,500
“The economy has been very healthy in Tulsa,” says Michael Davidsson, manager of economic research for the Chamber. “We’ve had many positive announcements both from companies moving into the area and those already here.”
One example of the city’s health is the major expansion of Williams Communications, a leading developer of fiber-optic networking for voice, data and Internet services. Employing more than 5,000 in the area, Williams recently began building a high-rise in downtown Tulsa. The new center, set for completion in mid-2001, will create 4,000 new jobs.
Says Rusty Linker, Chamber director of new business development, “These will include jobs in IT, engineering, communications, technical support and computer programming.”
Linker also points to a thriving aeronautics industry, led by Sabre, Inc. and American Airlines, which has its maintenance division in Tulsa.
A list of several other major economic players in Greater Tulsa illustrates the range of industries, including:
- Central SW
- Ford Motor Co.
- Kimberly Clark
- Metro Life Insurance
- State Farm
- Albertson’s Navistar
- Bok Financial Corporation
- TV Guide
Located in northeastern Oklahoma, Tulsa is a leading health care provider, serving patients in a four-state region. And the city is home to two schools of medicine:
- Oklahoma Osteopathic College of Medicine and Surgery
- Tulsa Medical School
It also boasts three major universities:
- Oklahoma State University – Tulsa
- University of Tulsa
- University of Oklahoma
If You’re Looking for the Average American City
“Tulsa is the most cosmopolitan area in Oklahoma,” says Davidsson, who emigrated from Iceland. “In fact, it’s the most typical city in the nation. Our demography is the closest to the average demography of the country.”
Besides having diverse cultures and industries, the cost of living index for Metro Tulsa lists the city at 93.5 (100 being the average). Salary Calculatorä (see our Tools page) matches a $100,000 salary in Chicago with a $52,060 salary in Tulsa, demonstrating just how far a dollar will go in Tulsa.
The low cost of housing is a key factor in the city’s affordability. Davidsson reports that a study conducted by the National Association of Realtors indicates 74 percent of the homes in Tulsa are affordable for someone with a median income. “This is a remarkable figure,” he says, “especially when you compare it with about 10 percent for a city like San Francisco.”
Tulsa’s healthy mix of high tech, engineering, finance, insurance, health care and transportation make this cosmopolitan, mid-sized city one of the most attractive labor markets in the country.