Oklahoma economic leaders have worked for decades to diversify the state's economy and reduce its dependence on the oil and natural gas industry.
That seemed like a good idea after the oil patch went bust in the mid-1980s, dragging much of the state economy with it.
Oklahoma has seen success in the diversification effort, especially in the areas of medical research, hospitality and aviation and aerospace.
Over the past 10 years, however, the oil and gas industry has roared back.
Oklahoma companies have led the newest boom by developing many of the key techniques for combining horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
Today, the industry is as important to Oklahoma as it was more than three decades ago. That's the conclusion of a report released this week by RegionTrack and the State Chamber.
The report found that the oil and gas industry represents 13.5 percent of the statewide earnings, making the state “as sensitive to the energy sector as it was in 1982.”
The industry also is responsible for 22 percent of all state tax collections and is the “key source of deposits to the state's Rainy Day Fund.”
Oklahoma has benefitted greatly from the industry.
Job creation is up. Wages are up. The growing oil and gas industry helped the state weather the recession much better than most of the country.
But such a dependence on one sector is risky.
Oil industry leaders say the world is different now than it was in the mid-1980s. With a much greater worldwide demand for oil, fluctuations can be more easily absorbed.
The world is very different from it was in 1983. But sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Nearly all industries are cyclical to some extent. That's part of the reason why state and local leaders and industry representatives have worked to diversify even within the oil and gas industry.
As part of that effort, more stable pipeline and transportation companies have developed and grown throughout Oklahoma in recent years.
General Electric chose Oklahoma City for its newest global research center both because of the city's oil and gas industry and its existing research center, which focuses primarily on the medical industry.
Even as oil producers continue to grow, the diversification effort is likely to continue, both within and without the oil patch.