Oklahoma Economy Put To Realty Check

Monday, February 16th 2009, 11:43 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The State of California announced it is laying off 20,000 government workers on Tuesday.  So how healthy is Oklahoma's economy?

"From what I hear in the news and in the media, it's bad," said Tulsan Jerry White.

"It's kind of scary out there right now. I'm glad to be in the profession that I'm in," said Claremore's Angie Draper.

Those with jobs like Angie Draper are thankful, those looking are fearful, and nearly everyone has a cautionary tale.

"She had graduated from OC and had a degree in journalism so she moved to Portland with her husband. her husband couldn't find anything either," said Kristina Medina of Tulsa.

Turns out the Sooner State might be the place to be for job hunters.  A recent survey by Career Builder ranked Oklahoma in the top 10 places to look for work.

The state's unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the nation at 4.9%, almost 2.5 points lower than the national average.

Oklahoma City is doing slightly better than Tulsa, which is one of the reasons Forbes.com named it as one of America's most recession-proof cities in 2008.

Oklahoma is also besting much of the nation when it comes to home foreclosures.

RealtyTrac, one of the largest real estate websites, says Oklahoma ranks in the top 20 for best foreclosure rates, with about one foreclosure for every 1,600 households in January. 

Compare that to the worst state, Nevada, which has one foreclosure for every 76 households.

But, there are signs that Oklahoma families are struggling.  Oklahoma's Department of Human Services reports near record numbers of folks receiving food stamps.  More than 440,000 Oklahomans are getting the aid, that's almost five times the population of Rogers County.  But, some are keeping the faith that things must and will get better.

"It just has to. I don't think anything stays stagnant. And, things don't just work out. I think there is a light in the future. And that's the perspective I like to keep," said Tulsan Jerry White.