Tulsa, the second-largest city in Oklahoma, is located along the Arkansas River in the northeastern portion of the state.
The Tulsa area is commonly referred to as “Green Country” for its vegetation, hilly terrain and numerous lakes. After the first oil well was discovered in Tulsa in 1901, the city quickly became the “Oil Capital of the World,” a title it held for most of the last century. As a result, the population of Tulsa boomed, and the city prospered as the petroleum industry thrived.
The Tulsa metro, with a population of 954,400 people, consists of Tulsa, Osage, Okmulgee, Rogers, Wagoner, Creek and Pawnee counties. The City of Tulsa is the most populated city, with 396,800 residents. Over the next five years, the highest percentage of growth is occurring in outlying cities such as Owasso and Bixby.
Tulsa’s affordable cost of living, low operating costs, and centralized location attract businesses. For many years, the local economy relied on gas and oil companies. After the industry bottomed in the 1980s and many of these businesses relocated elsewhere, local officials worked to diversify the region’s economy. Today, major employment sectors in Tulsa also include air transportation, aerospace manufacturing, telecommunications, energy and structural metals manufacturing.
The local economy is also aided by the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, located on the Verdigris River. The facility allows local businesses to ship products worldwide via the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers. Over 2.5 million tons of cargo is shipped from the port annually.
Diversity in the local economy and an energy resurgence has helped the local economy recover from the recession. The housing run-up in Tulsa did not swell to the same extent as in many U.S. markets, and as a result, the metro’s residential foreclosure rate remained far below the national average. Additionally, the unemployment rate in Tulsa stayed well under the U.S. average through the downturn. This year, unemployment is forecast to remain under 6 percent, helping boost local retail sales by 2.6 percent.