Oklahoma’s energy industry helped create one of the top five fastest growing statewide economies in the nation, according to federal figures released Wednesday.
With an increase of 4.17 percent, Oklahoma ranks fourth in GDP growth from 2012 to 2013, according to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The state trails only North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming. The country saw a growth of 1.9 percent.
“What these three states ... and Oklahoma have in common is that they rely heavily on the mining industry,” said Mickey Hepner, University of Central Oklahoma’s College of Business dean.
Mining, which includes oil and natural gas exploration and production, was Oklahoma’s fastest growing industry in 2013, with an increase of 19.22 percent since 2012, according to Wednesday’s release.
“Overall, it was a pretty good year for the energy industry, which is elevating the state,” Hepner said.
Energy also provided indirect economic benefits to other industries, such as construction.
“It also has spillover effects. (Energy’s role) is probably more significant than the BEA is reporting,” he said.
The second highest growth rate went to the agriculture industry. It grew 17.7 percent from 2012 to 2013.
This growth could be attributed to cattle sales, said Chad Wilkerson, regional economist at the Federal Reserve’s Oklahoma City branch.
“Cattle has done very well,” he said. “Even though the drought has decreased the herds, the prices have gone up.”
The retail industry is growing, which is most likely a product of improvements in the overall economy, Wilkerson said.
This is an important detail, said Robert Dauffenbach, director of the Center for Economic and Management Research at the University of Oklahoma. He studies employment in Oklahoma, with a focus on the Oklahoma City metro area.
“One of the things we aren’t thinking about enough is retail and restaurants,” he said.
When considering employment in the area, people usually give a nod to Continental, Boeing, Tinker and Devon. They deserve the credit, but not solely, he said.
“We’re a diversified community,” Dauffenbach said. “We’re not just oil.”
The same report detailed the GDP per capita, which is used to illustrate quality of life for individuals.
Oklahoma is also making improvements in these reports, Wilkerson said.
This year, Oklahoma was ranked 36th, up from 38th in 2012. Oklahoma passed Georgia and Tennessee. In 2000, Oklahoma was ranked 46th.
“It’s still in the lower half, but it’s better than it was 13 years ago,” Wilkerson said.