My last two post were about how good news about the Oklahoma economy is filtering in through the gloom of the national presses focus on what is falling apart. Today more job significant job losses were reported by Catepillar, Sprint, Home Depot and others. Catepillar alone reported 20,000 lay offs. Some estimates of job loss in 2009 run to another 2 million to match the 2 million from last year. Is Oklahoma City really an oasis in an economic desert? The answer is no. We have worked hard since the 1980's to diversify our economy to match job numbers in the basic categories. We have done this in medical, government, military, technology, manufacturing, accounting, and other areas. Energy and agriculture which have in the past been the key to our financial success or failure don't control our destiny anymore. It would help to have oil and natural gas at higher levels, but the recent increase in the state's budget only shows a $110 million shortfall by the end of the year. Shouldn't this be enough?
The answer is yes and no. Yes, because housing which was the main reason for the current meltdown, and Oklahoma City was not apart of the bubble. No because job loss will eventaully get to us because as retailers and services stumble, layoffs happen everywhere. It is extremely important that the Obama adminsistration and Congress recognize that tax cuts are helpful but if you don;t have a job you are not buying homes, cars, clothes, or services, and a tax cut only helps if you have a pay check. I don't begin to know what the proper course is to job the losses, and sometimes i worry that neither does Congress. But being at a local level, I have dealt with short selling people's homes who have lost jobs and can't make payments. Again, I am glad to be in Oklahoma but my concern for the future is national. Let's hope that we get the $1.7 billion and 10,000 jobs that the infrastructure spending would give us. Then we can work on getting tax cuts.