In a year when cities across the country saw double-digit unemployment, Oklahoma’s two major cities were racking up national accolades. Oklahoma City and Tulsa saw unemployment push toward levels unseen in nearly two decades, but the jobless rates still are among the lowest in the country.
Buoyed by a strong energy sector, the cities were touted for their business-friendly climate in numerous national rankings. Despite the economic downturn, Oklahoma continued to make small but significant investments in itself. Some $6.9 million in funding was approved for several technology projects in industries ranging from agriculture and aerospace to weather science and nanotechnology — all aimed at stimulating the local economy and encouraging job growth. Entrepreneurism seemed to be on the rise as well, with women leading the majority of new small business ventures. And i2E — a not-for-profit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies — reports it provided commercialization services to 114 companies.