Service companies gained more ground than they lost on the Oklahoma Inc. top companies chart this year. Among eight companies in the sector, five are climbers, two are sliders and one is a rookie to the list. Three service companies hold the distinction of ranking in the top 10 companies. In impressive advances, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc., a rental car company based in Tulsa, pulled to No. 3 from No. 41 last year, and Pre-Paid Legal Services Inc., an Ada-based multilevel marketing company that designs, underwrites and markets insurance for legal services, to No. 4 from No. 35. Dollar Thrifty was No. 2 in one-year total return to shareholders — stock price plus dividend (up 47.62 percent). Newcomer Graymark Healthcare Inc. nabbed the No. 8 spot. The Oklahoma City based company, which was unranked last year, owns and operates independent pharmacies, diagnostic sleep centers and a medical equipment company that treats patients for sleep disorders. Graymark ranked fourth in percent change in revenues (up 44.33 percent). Just outside the top 10 are XETA Technologies Inc., a Broken Arrow company that provides telecommunications services for the lodging industry, which edged to No. 11 from No. 14 last year, and Educational Development Corp. — a Tulsa-based company that sells children’s books, scaling to No. 12 from 37. Jake Dollarhide, chief executive of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa who follows the service sector, thinks the high service company rankings signal recession relief. "Since December 2007, we’ve anticipated and then had a prolonged recession,” Dollarhide said. "And service companies are very economy dependent. Dollar Thrifty and XETA, for example, are very dependent on travel,” he said, "and not too long ago consumers’ travel budgets were dead.” If the rankings were done in March, few, if any, service companies may have hit the top 12, Dollarhide believes. "But we’re starting to see signs of economic recovery,” he said. "Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and others predict a full recovery by the middle of next year.” In the second tier of service companies, two gained ground and one slid. They are: →Sonic Corp., No. 18 from No. 31, an Oklahoma City-based drive-in restaurant company. →Vaughan Foods Inc., No. 31 from No. 15, a Moore-based regional provider of vegetables, refrigerated deli salads, soups and stews, sauces, sandwiches and fruit. →ADDvantage Technologies Group Inc., No. 37 from No. 38, a Broken-Arrow based company that resells cable TV equipment. Oklahoma’s services industry holds its own in terms of employment, said Lynn Gray, an economist with the state Employment Security Commission. The sector, which includes retail, restaurants, hospitals and government, is responsible for nearly 84 percent of the jobs in the state, Gray said. Companies with a broader national market — such as Sonic and Prepaid Legal Services — are especially important, Gray said, because of their heavy involvement in export sales. Over the past 12 months, Gray said, service companies have lost fewer jobs than goods-producing industries.