Low unemployment, energy sector boosts income in Oklahoma metro areas

Personal income grew in all of the nation's metropolitan areas in 2011, the federal government said. Helped by the energy sector and low unemployment, Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas were among the best performing.
by Paul Monies Published: November 27, 2012
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A booming energy sector and low unemployment helped drive personal income growth last year in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas, according to federal estimates released Monday.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis put the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas in its highest category of income growth for 2011. Both areas posted income growth of 7.6 percent from 2010 to 2011, the bureau said. Lawton's metro area personal income grew 4.6 percent during the same period.

“That coincided with a period of employment growth and low unemployment,” said Jon Chiappe, deputy division director of research and economic analysis at the Oklahoma Commerce Department. “Many of the (metropolitan statistical areas) with growth were in energy states.”

Nationally, average personal income growth for 2011 was 5.2 percent. The bureau said personal income rose in all 366 of the nation's metro areas for the first time since 2007.

Compensation in the mining sector, which includes most energy jobs, grew to $2.4 billion in the Oklahoma City metro in 2011, the bureau said. That's up from $1.85 billion in 2010. It was at $2.23 billion in 2008.

Compensation includes wages, retirement and medical insurance costs.

Meanwhile, inflation rose 2.4 percent nationally in 2011, the bureau said. That's up from 1.9 percent in 2010.

“Inflation takes away from purchasing power,” Chiappe said. “As the cost of goods increases, then anybody who earned $30,000 last year and this year is going to feel like they're not doing as well.”


by Paul Monies
Energy Reporter
Paul Monies is an energy reporter for The Oklahoman. He has worked at newspapers in Texas and Missouri and most recently was a data journalist for USA Today in the Washington D.C. area. Monies also spent nine years as a business reporter and...
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Inflation takes away from purchasing power. As the cost of goods increases, then anybody who earned $30,000 last year and this year is going to feel like they're not doing as well.”

Jon Chiappe,
Deputy division director of research and economic analysis at the Oklahoma Commerce Department

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