A slowdown in Oklahoma's energy and government sectors led to weaker job growth in the state this year, but Oklahoma State University economist Dan Rickman predicts things will pick up again in 2014.
Lower natural gas prices in 2013 slowed the state's energy sector, with about 5,400 fewer energy sector jobs in the state at the end of the third quarter from a previous year, Rickman said at Wednesday's 2014 Oklahoma Economic Outlook Conference.
While Rickman predicts energy prices will rebound in 2014, he said the state still needs to diversify its economy.
“We are still very dependent on energy and, outside of a small aerospace sector in Oklahoma City, we don't really have a lot going on outside of that,” Rickman said. “We have our eggs all in one basket a little bit.”
With many government contractors and military bases, Oklahoma was particularly hard hit by federal spending cuts triggered by sequestration and the government shutdown in October, said Chad Wilkerson, economist for the Oklahoma City Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
Preliminary data shows that the 16-day federal government shutdown in October had a negative-0.5 percent impact on Oklahoma's economic growth.