e Tulsa metro area came in at No. 30.
Although Oklahoma City and Tulsa have been hit by manufacturing and service job losses and rising unemployment, their relatively stable housing markets and energy companies have buffeted those declines.
"As the economy began to deteriorate in other parts of the country, Oklahoma City was prospering,” said Eric Long, manager of economic research for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.
Long said inquiries about relocating to Oklahoma City from both companies and individuals have picked up after dropping off in the last year or so.
Retaining college grads
Officials from Tulsa and Oklahoma City chambers mentioned the importance of attracting and retaining college graduates and entrepreneurs, who in the past might have sought jobs or started companies in larger regional metros such as Dallas or Denver.
Susan Harris, senior vice president of education and workforce for the Tulsa Metro Chamber, said if the Tulsa area can grow its percentage of residents with college degrees just 1 percentage point, it would mean an extra $646 million per year in economic activity. "Everything we’re doing is about making sure we are open and receptive to new people coming in and living here, locating their businesses and bringing their families and we are receptive to higher density development in the inner core of the city,” Harris said.
Harris said the chamber is working with colleges, universities and businesses to identify residents who were close to finishing a degree but never did. Another effort includes tightening the integration of career pathways. For example, in the nursing field, it includes ways for certified nursing assistants to get their licensed practical nurse certification and for registered nurses to get bachelor of science degrees in nursing.
More poor in suburbs
Nationally, the Brookings report found 53 percent of the metro poor now live in suburbs, up from 48 percent in 2000. This increasing suburbanization of poverty has implications for policymakers, who have traditionally directed social programs to large cities, said Alan Berube, who headed up the analysis for the Metropolitan Policy Program.
The latest food stamp numbers from the state Department of Human Services shows that the number of people getting food stamps in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metros rose more than 30 percent between February 2009 and February 2010. But most outlying counties in those metro areas posted higher percentage increases than Oklahoma and Tulsa counties.
For more discussion on the Brookings report and to view...
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