How is Tulsa is facing this new economic reality?

Now that the oil bust has done all the damage it can do, local companies are readjusting and beginning to stabilize.



Greg Bollinger

For the past three years, the oil bust weighed down Tulsa. Thousands lost their jobs, survivors spent their money more carefully and corporations thought twice about opening new locations in the area.

That weight was eased in 2017. Not because oil prices have recovered; at the time of this writing, most oil price forecasts predict an overabundance of supply and continued flat demand from China and other countries will keep oil prices low through 2018. Yet most companies have stopped cutting away their workforces or canceling expansion plans.

Simply put, the oil bust has done all the damage it can. Residents and corporations alike already have tightened their belts and adjusted to this new economic reality, and everyone’s now ready to move forward, says Bob Ball, director of economic research at the Tulsa Regional Chamber.

“We’re no longer losing jobs,” Ball says. “Even with oil prices being what they are, we’re starting to slowly add jobs.”

As of October, Tulsa’s unemployment rate stood at 4.4 percent, around the same rate unemployment stood when oil prices started to plummet in 2014. October’s national rate was 4.1 percent, which includes the majority of the country that didn’t have to experience the full impact of the oil bust.

Ball says Tulsa’s traditional ability to outperform the national unemployment average was upheld even during the worst of the localized downturn. Now that the pain and uncertainty has started to lift, Tulsa has the opportunity to stand out from other similarly sized metro areas once again.

That said, he believes an oil recovery would absolutely benefit the area, even if it isn’t in the cards for now.

“If oil can sustain a price of $57-$59 in 2018, steady growth should occur,” he says. “Tempered production by major oil producers has held prices higher. Worldwide demand for oil is beginning to grow again. Mid-year 2018 is when OPEC and Russia will reassess their production cuts.” 

Ball’s prediction is for overall Tulsa employment to grow by 1.3 percent annually for the next five years. The energy sector will grow at about 1.2 percent as the industry rebuilds with stable oil prices in the $57-$59 range. Manufacturing is the brightest spot for growth with an expected average annual growth of 2.8 percent for the next five years, with aerospace and fabricated metals being standouts.

David Roberts, a commercial broker with Coldwell Banker Select, says oil isn’t the only obstacle that has been overcome in the past year. Presidential election years always cause some degree of uncertainty and hesitation from regular citizens and businesses alike, and this one was definitely no exception.

“Our economy took a big turn after Nov. 8,” he says. “Before the election, nobody wanted to do anything because no one knew what was going to happen. After the election, the floodgates opened up.”

Local politics can play a role in commercial development as well, and Roberts is bullish on the impact of Mayor G.T. Bynum.

“Tulsa’s been a better market because we’ve got new leadership with our new mayor, and I think we’re going to see the mayor and city council work together to bring new business to Tulsa,” Roberts says.

Ball reports the Chamber is now fielding more inquiries from regional and national companies looking to expand and potentially establish regional headquarters in the metro area, which would help diversify the local economy.

More jobs means more people could choose to make Tulsa their home. In fact, that might already be happening. According to the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors, 12,281 homes changed hands during the first 10 months of the year, up nearly 1 percent from 2016.

What’s more, long-term Tulsans are becoming less hesitant to put their homes on the market and find new ones. After years of shrinking inventory, the number of homes for sale finally started to increase in 2017.

Combine that with higher sale prices — the average reached $199,694, up 17 percent from 2016 — and you’ve got a strong indication that even committed residents are ready to spend more money in general, Ball says.

He estimates Tulsa’s overall consumer spending has stayed strong, and it likely equals the national average spending rate.

“We’ve continued to spend disproportionately better than the jobs outlook, which was consistent with the last recession,” he says. “People kept filling parking lots in restaurants.”

Even with the downturn, Tulsa is becoming a more attractive place to live, with numerous development projects in play, including downtown.

Then there’s the Gathering Place. The $400-plus million, 100-acre park being developed by the George Kaiser Family Foundation will offer numerous activities for families when Phase 1 is finished in 2018.

Ball says the visibility and attractiveness of these projects will help pull in workers and employers alike for the entire metro area, not just near downtown.

“Anytime you offer any kind of amenity that’s attractive to a young workforce, it helps,” he says. “People want to be where there are things going on, and we’ve got plenty going on.”

But the abundance of new amenities and redevelopment brings challenges, too. Roberts says tenant mobility back to downtown areas, as well as tenants taking advantage of new developments in the southern part of the metro area, means older properties could become overlooked.

“Our concern is that the new shopping centers were dominating, and older shopping centers had to come up with incentives to make them attractive,” Roberts says.

To make matters thornier for retail properties, a wave of national brands have suffered due to stiff competition from Amazon and other online retailers. Those closures have resulted in more empty spaces in Tulsa.

“Though some individual centers will be affected, I don’t think these closures will affect the retail market as a whole,” he says.

Even so, retail continues to grow around Tulsa. Projects including Shops at Warren Place and the Mother Road Market announced impending construction, and two long-struggling centers, Riverwalk Crossing and Midtown Village, are starting to improve.

Ball says Tulsa’s fundamentals are improving; the long-term employment outlook will move beyond simple stabilization to strength, and corporations are looking to grow in Tulsa.

Roberts also is optimistic, though he’s already bracing for the next cyclical challenges.

“I think things will continue to trend up, at least until the next election,” he says.

 

 

 

 

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the Tulsa Commercial Properties publication of the Oklahoma National Association of Industrial and Office Properties Chapter. It was edited for length and some statistics updated.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRobert Evatt

Travers Mahan makes shopping a special experience

This upscale menswear store provides much more than fine quality clothing.

Building a new home? Here are things to keep in mind.

Certainty in the Tulsa market is inspiring new home construction. Here are the latest trends you need to know.

Add your comment:
21c

 

Get the best in arts, entertainment and more straight to your inbox.

Join our email list

Edit ModuleShow Tags

January 2019

We’re serving up our new chef-inspired fondue and traditional brunch options like Alpine Benedict Cheese Fondue, French Toast Fondue, Avocado Fiesta Toast plus bottomless mimosas. Reserve...

Cost: Varies

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Alex Cooper
Website »

More information

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

Hike the Garden’s 1.5 mile nature trail by the full moon to discover the night sights and sounds of the forest and prairie. Drinks and kits for making s’mores over fire pits will be...

Cost: $10 per person for members; $15 for non-members

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

So You Want to Make a Movie? Learn how to take your movie idea from conception to reality through hands-on guidance. The goal is to create a short digital video to be submitted to a local film...

Cost: $375

Where:
Ahha Tulsa
101 E. Archer St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

Come out to Willows Family Ales for the first drop-in workshop of the year! $8 per tiny item you create, or do a 3 for $20 deal with your friends! Enjoy a tasty beer or one of their many...

Cost: $8

Where:
Willows Family Ales
418 S Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: Tiny Things by Bowen
Contact Name: Sarah Bowen
Website »

More information

Theme Imitation Imitation is a form of flattery. Learn how writers mimic themes, voice and tone – with one-on-one mentoring - to create your own unique piece of poetry. Instructor: Clemonce...

Cost: $300

Where:
Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
700 N. Greenwood Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74106
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
Website »

More information

FREE Speaking Event “Astronomy, God, and the Search for Elegance” Scientific theories must do more than merely satisfy the data; they must do so in a way that is (to use a term...

Cost: FREE

Where:
ORU Global Learning Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Contact Name: Shawn Bender
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

Every Wednesday Live Event Trivia is at The Willows Family Ales - Show starts at 7 and is free to play! Movie scenes, Finish the Lyric, Classic Trivia, and more! The crew from T-Town Tacos will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Telephone: (918) 895-6798
Contact Name: Julian Morgan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Solo performance. Tulsa songwriter, vocalist, and guitar player originally from the OKC area. Drawing from co-songwriters and countless influential mentors and supporters in the Tulsa music scene,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Willow's Family Ales
418 S. Peoria
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »

More information

Animal People: Lecture with Dan Musgrave Thursday, January 24, 9:30 - 10:45 am What does it mean to be an 'Animal person'? For that matter, what does it mean to be a person? Drawing upon his...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong
Website »

More information

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

HumanNature: Photography Workshop with Dan Musgrave Thursday, January 24,  2 - 3:30 pm Think of the average American home: climate controlled, pest free, and human centric. Yet, as Jeff Goldblum...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong
Website »

More information

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

Body/Mind Techniques for Managing Stress.   Trauma, fear, panic attacks, PTSD, diabetes, chronic pain, anxiety and phobias all have components related to emotional or physical...

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Where:
Hardesty Regional Library
8316 E. 93rd Street
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Success Skills
Telephone: 405-401-3519
Contact Name: Ron Watkins

More information

Solo performance. Tulsa songwriter, vocalist, and guitar player originally from the OKC area. Drawing from co-songwriters and countless influential mentors and supporters in the Tulsa music scene,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Willow's Family Ales
418 S. Peoria
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On January 25, Mental Health Association Oklahoma will host the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Journey, a traveling, hands-on exhibit to raise awareness about the All of Us...

Cost: Free

Where:
Legacy Plaza
5330 E. 31st Street
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Mental Health Association Oklahoma
Telephone: (918) 585-1213
Website »

More information

Do you and your pup have "cabin fever"? Come out to the Botanic Garden during our "Dog Days of Winter" - Fridays and Saturdays during January and February only when four-legged...

Cost: Free for Garden members & their dogs. Admission + $4 per dog for non-members.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

More information

Golf Oklahoma is bringing back the Oklahoma Golf Expo for 2019. And we’re tremendously excited to have a busy south Tulsa location as our new venue. The Tulsa Golf Expo will be Jan. 25-26...

Cost: TBA

Where:
Marriott Tulsa Hotel Southern Hills
1902 E 71st St
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74136
View map »


Sponsor: Golf Oklahoma
Telephone: 918-280-0787
Contact Name: Chris Swafford
Website »

More information

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Friday, January 25, 1 - 2 pm Chimpanzees in the Congo Basin exhibit some of the most complex tool behaviors documented outside of humans.  This talk will share recent discoveries on how young...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong
Website »

More information

Stand-up comedian Brian Regan brings his tour to our city! Regan has distinguished himself as one of the premier comedians in the country. The perfect balance of sophisticated writing and...

Cost: $60.00

Where:
Brady Theater
105 West Brady Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: SoundChronicle
Telephone: 802-255-1826
Contact Name: Emily Carter
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Beginning with an introduction into the origin and characteristics of coffee and ending in the myriad of ways we imbibe our black gold, this course is an aerial view of coffee’s journey from...

Cost: $50

Where:
Topeca Coffee
1229 E. Admiral Blvd.
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Sponsor: OSU-Tulsa
Website »

More information

The Orbit Initiative, produced by The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust, resumes its FREE community satellite adventures at seven local community centers this Saturday, January 12th, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Various
Various
Tulsa, OK  Various
View map »


Sponsor: The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust
Telephone: 918-596-7119
Contact Name: Jeremy Stevens
Website »

More information

The annual Tulsa Eagle Day has been renamed to “Eagle Watch and Raptor Rally.” It will be on Jan. 26, 2019 from 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. at Jenks High School, Building 6. There will be presentations...

Cost: Free

Where:
Jenks High School, Building 6
205 E. B St.
Jenks, OK
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Audubon Society
Website »

More information

Do you and your pup have "cabin fever"? Come out to the Botanic Garden during our "Dog Days of Winter" - Fridays and Saturdays during January and February only when four-legged...

Cost: Free for Garden members & their dogs. Admission + $4 per dog for non-members.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

More information

Golf Oklahoma is bringing back the Oklahoma Golf Expo for 2019. And we’re tremendously excited to have a busy south Tulsa location as our new venue. The Tulsa Golf Expo will be Jan. 25-26...

Cost: TBA

Where:
Marriott Tulsa Hotel Southern Hills
1902 E 71st St
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74136
View map »


Sponsor: Golf Oklahoma
Telephone: 918-280-0787
Contact Name: Chris Swafford
Website »

More information

Pain Management Class Non-medical Treatments for Pain Non-medical treatments may be used to treat chronic pain, along with pain medicines. They might also be used alone for mild pain or...

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Where:
Glenpool Library
730 E. 141st Street
Glenpool, OK  74033
View map »


Sponsor: Success Skills
Telephone: 405-401-3519
Contact Name: Ron Watkins

More information

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Come and Support ORU Women's Basketball as they jump into another exciting season. Join in on the fun and purchase your tickets today! All children ages 13 and under, accompanied by an adult, will...

Cost: $7.00

Where:
MABEE CENTER
7777 S LEWIS AVE
TULSA, OK  74171
View map »


Website »

More information

Evergreens are often overlooked and under-appreciated in the landscape, yet in the winter months they provide color, form and texture that their deciduous counterparts can’t provide. Take a...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 for ages 13+; $4 for ages 3–12; 2 & under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

More information

We are thrilled to announce The Pencil Box's brand new event, Rock Paper Scissors, to be held at the historic Cain's Ballroom on Saturday, January 26, 2019, and we need you there! This event will...

Cost: $150.00

Where:
Cain's Ballroom
423 North Main Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 918-442-2222
Contact Name: Nancy Bolzle
Website »

More information

Come see ORU Mens Basketball vs North Dakota State!

Cost: $10-$20

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 South Lewis Ave
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Sponsor: https://mabeecenter.com/event/californiabaptist1819m/
Telephone: 918-495-6000
Contact Name: Mabee Center
Website »

More information

Living Arts of Tulsa is celebrating its 50th anniversary during its signature gala, Champagne & Chocolate. The event features a fashion show and auction and features the work of artist...

Cost: $100

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 E. MB Brady Street
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: Living Arts of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-585-1234
Contact Name: Jessica Borusky
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Giving Guide
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

TULtalk


Voters choose Gathering Place as USA Today’s Best New Attraction

Tulsa’s world-class 66-acre riverfront park wins national poll by popular vote

Comments

2.2: Mending with Gold — Ana Berry

On this episode of the Tulsa Talks podcast, Ana Berry is a champion for the city with a new perspective on life.

Comments

Video: Soundscapes Tulsa

Comments

2.1: The Pivot — Meg Myers Morgan

Season 2 is all about reinvention, and you could say that today’s guest, Meg Myers Morgan, wrote the book on how to do it — through negotiation and self-reflection.

Comments

Lives well lived

Remembering the prominent Tulsans we lost in 2018.

Comments