Fed talks to Duncan residents about Oklahoma economy - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Fed talks to Duncan residents about Oklahoma economy

Lawton_The economic picture has been up and down lately - sometimes all in the same day.  It's all over the place, and so unstable that the Federal Reserve Bank- the institution charged with keeping the country's house in order - says it's difficult to create more jobs, keep the cost of goods down, and create some sort of financial stability. 

On Tuesday, some members of the Fed told a Duncan audience that what makes the economic outlook even worse is uncertainty - despite government intervention.  But, how does the national picture affect Oklahoma?

On the whole, states across the nation have been hit with a triple whammy.  Jobs are scarce, layoffs are abundant, and living costs are soaring through the roof (even the roof of some homes that are in foreclosure).  However, there is a silver-lining for Oklahomans.  While other states' economies are sinking fast, Oklahoma's is staying afloat - although it isn't easy.

Building and business are booming in Duncan.  "Right now we've got Cameron Measurement Systems doing their expansion," said Lyle Roggow with Duncan Development.  "I've got Richard's Machining which is adding additional jobs, and this morning - as we took a tour of Halliburton - they're looking to add some additional jobs." 

Chad Wilkerson with the Federal Reserve says that Oklahoma's successful economy is a balancing act.  While Oklahoma job growth is outperforming the nation, it has still weakened.  Housing and banking activity is stable, but layoff announcements are on the rise.  However, the outlook here remains good.  "I don't know if we need to be as worried as in other parts of the country," said Wilkerson.  "The sources of strength are that jobs are still up from a year ago, unemployment is still low, and home prices are still rising slightly."

However, with Oklahoma's bread-winners - oil and energy - taking a back seat nationally, dropping prices mean less jobs in the industry.  While it may be good news for the consumer, it's bad news for Oklahoma business.  "Energy has been the primary source for jobs - the primary source of relative strength in Oklahoma - and that source of strength has gone away," Wilkerson said.  Another Oklahoma money-maker that is falling short is agriculture.  "Farmers' capital spending plans for the fourth quarter have come down," said Wilkerson. 

So, what will turn the economy around for the nation, and in turn, Oklahoma?  Wilkerson says there are a number of things that need to happen.  "The housing sector has to turn around," he said.  "There is still a good amount of de-leveraging that has to occur at a lot of the big financial institutions that got too strained." 

The Federal Reserve says that the best way to describe our economic future is as uncertain.  They say that by 2009 we will probably still be watching the economy rubber-band like we have been seeing over the past year.  Duncan's Economic Development says that much of 2008's expansion in Duncan has been made possible thanks to a tax extension.  The city officials hopes voters will come out on December 9 to support Oklahoma growth in the city sales tax election.

Count on 7News to keep you updated.

Powered by Frankly