OKLAHOMA (OBV) – Oklahoma ranked low in America’s Top States for Business in 2023 – a CNBC survey that scored all 50 states on business competitiveness and viability – but a top business expert says efforts are underway to improve the Sooner State’s business standing.
CNBC ranked Oklahoma the 41st best business state in the nation.
All 50 states were scored on 86 metrics across the following 10 competitiveness categories:
- Life, health and inclusion
- Cost of doing business
- Tech & innovation
- Business friendliness
- Access to capital
- Cost of living
“Each category is weighted based on how frequently states use them as a selling point in economic development marketing materials,” CNBC staff state. “That way, our study ranks the states based on the attributes they use to sell themselves.”
Oklahoma ranked 36th in workforce, 20th in infrastructure, 30th in economy, 49th in life, health and inclusion, third in cost of doing business, 38th in tech & innovation, 21st in business friendliness, 48th in education, 25th in access to capital and fifth in cost of living.
Ben Lepak, executive director of the State Chamber Research Foundation, said this ranking does not define Oklahoma’s potential for improvements in business competitiveness.
“Any one-year ranking is just a snapshot in time, but that’s why we’ve created our own metrics that point the way for policy makers in Oklahoma and the business community to prioritize the things we need to work on and improve,” Lepak said. “I think in general, getting an idea of trends and trying to break down these different components of economic growth, is a really useful way to prioritize and to shape a policy agenda.”
The metrics Lepak referred to is the 2022 Oklahoma Scorecard, which in previous years was entitled The Oklahoma Economic Competitiveness Index. The Oklahoma Scorecard measures economic competitiveness based on key metrics that are indicative of public policy choices.
The 2022 Oklahoma Scorecard ranked Oklahoma 44th out of 50 states in workforce, down from its 41st rating from the previous year. The Scorecard attributed the decline largely to poor K-12 education outcomes.
Oklahoma political and business leaders are working together to improve workforce in the state. Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 621 into law last month, establishing the Oklahoma Workforce Commission.
The Workforce Commission will direct the state’s workforce development strategy and administer and oversee funding allocated by the legislature for workforce development initiatives. The commission can contract with outside parties to achieve its goals.
“The Workforce Commission will make it easier for existing companies to grow and it will create the skilled workforce we need to attract new businesses to our state. We thank all our members and lawmakers that have worked so hard to make this day a reality,” Chad Warmington, State Chamber of Oklahoma president and CEO, said during a ceremony in which Stitt signed SB 621.
Oklahoma has what it takes to compete with major industrial states, Lepak said.
“Some people think that we can’t possibly compete with states like California or Texas, but we are trying to compete with those states and every other state,” Lepak said.
CNBC ranked Texas sixth and California 25th. North Carolina topped the list at number one.