“I think we could do better,” Study ranks Oklahoma’s economy near the bottom

OKLAHOMA CITY - A week after lawmakers agreed on a budget, Oklahoma officials are getting a glimpse into what the budget crisis did to the state's reputation.

In 2014, WalletHub ranked Oklahoma City among the best cities to start a business.

One year later, the company ranked Oklahoma City 21st on the same list, but Tulsa made the jump to second. 

Now, WalletHub tells a different story when it comes to the Sooner State.

Recently, the company created a list ranking state economies.

Oklahoma ended up 43rd out of the 50 states.

"I think we could do better," said University of Oklahoma economics professor Dr. Greg Burge. "I think our economy is sort of accurately ranked given what they're looking at."

WalletHub.com ranked GDP growth, business start-up activity, household income, high-tech industries, inventor patents and several other factors.

Oklahoma's low ranking stems from a serious downtown in the energy sector, but Burge points out that other areas are struggling, as well.

"Education and infrastructure are two areas we could be doing better in, because those are opportunities to invest in the future and think about long-run growth," he said.

The Oklahoma City Chamber was a little surprised by the ranking, considering WalletHub has ranked our state high in the past.

"This is not a bad time to be in Oklahoma City or in Oklahoma, at all," said Chamber Executive VP Kurt Foreman. "We're still creating jobs in other sectors, and it's not like the eighties here. If it were like the eighties, I certainly think rankings like that would be more accurate."

Investments in infrastructure like downtown projects and road work also contribute to a healthy economy.

Amid the negative, officials said there is a bright spot to the state of the economy: unemployment.

The national unemployment rate is 5 percent, but Oklahoma's unemployment rate sits at 4.5 percent.

In Tulsa, it's 4.3 percent and, in Oklahoma City, it's  just 3.7 percent.