Oklahoma City businesses plan to keep hiring, chamber official says

Oklahoma City businesses expect to keep hiring over the next year, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber President Roy Williams said. He spoke at Tuesday's Oklahoma City Council meeting to reveal the results of the chamber's latest survey of local employers.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Published: November 21, 2012
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There still are a few discouraging trends and possibilities on the local and national level, Williams said.

The quality of primary education in Oklahoma City and other parts of the state has suffered to the degree that employers think some local students “really don't have the skills to enter the workforce,” Williams said.

The employers also expressed a desire for more workers' compensation reform in Oklahoma and continued commitment to investment in infrastructure such as roads and bridges.

“While many acknowledge and applaud what has already taken place, there's a recognition that there's been years of underfunding infrastructure in Oklahoma,” Williams said. “There's a huge task still facing us, and they're concerned about the current progress (and) whether or not there's the commitment out there to continue the infrastructure improvements statewide.”

Uncertainty in the national economy and the ever-closer edge of the fiscal cliff, threatened by federal government inaction, has given pause to some of the largest employers.

Earlier this year, optimistic statements and hints from civic leaders predicted a big job boost from major development and relocation news from big corporations, but Williams implied Tuesday that concerns about the economy have delayed that, at least for now.

“We're still seeing a hesitancy and a reluctance to grow, to make large capital investments and (add) new employees and new equipment, particularly among the larger companies,” Williams said.