Though energy companies account for 28 of Oklahoma's 37 publicly traded companies, their few manufacturing counterparts more than held their own in this year's Oklahoma Inc. — as the only non-energy companies to break into the top 10.
Tulsa-based AAON Inc. — which makes industrial and commercial air conditioning and heating equipment primarily for the U.S. and Canada — shot to No. 3 from No. 25 last year, while Pryor-based Orchids Paper Products Co. — which makes toilet paper, towels and napkins that are sold largely regionally — claimed the No. 9 spot, down six spaces from last year.
Oklahoma City-based LSB Industries Inc. — which produces climate control devices and chemicals for mining and agriculture, for clients in Canada, the Middle East, Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, and South and East Asia — slipped to No. 36 from No. 32 last year, after taking the No. 1 spot in 2011.
The three manufacturers' gains in earnings per share ranged from 59.5 percent to 13.9 percent to a negative 66 percent, respectively.
Two other Oklahoma manufacturing companies that are ranked on the over-the-counter list had a mixed bag on Oklahoma Inc.
Tulsa-based recyclable plastic pallet manufacturer Greystone Logistics posted a gain in earnings per share of 60 percent, but Webco Industries Inc. — a Sand Springs company that makes carbon steel, stainless steel and other metal tubular products for various industries — posted a 13.9 percent drop in share price.
Chuck Prucha, president of the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, said economic uncertainty continues to be a serious problem as state manufacturers plan for the near future.
“It's important to remember the vast majority of production is done by small and medium-sized companies,” he said. “These manufacturers are flexible and better able than large companies to adapt to changing conditions. That's a real advantage when dealing with economic uncertainty.”
The manufacturing workforce is back above pre-recession levels, Prucha said. “Production output continues to increase, and if we can get to a more stable political climate, I think we will see a corresponding increase in employment,” he said.
Within the industry some sectors are doing better than others, said Lynn Gray, an economist with the Oklahoma Employment Commission. The fabricated metal products subsector is growing employment at an annual rate of 5.4 percent, while food manufacturing is shedding jobs.
Jake Dollarhide, CEO of Longbow Asset Management Co. in Tulsa, said manufacturing remains an important part of the state's economy.
With a talented workforce and reasonable operational and labor costs, Oklahoma has a competitive edge over neighboring states in attracting manufacturers, he said.