Known in the public consciousness as "The Oil Capitol of the World" and as a center for severe Tornado Alley thunderstorms, Tulsa, Oklahoma is much more than just oil and water. Tulsa is ranked among the most livable cities in America by several prominent organizations and has developed a diversified economy dependant not just on oil production but also aviation, finance, health care, manufacturing, technology, and transportation. It is home to the innermost American river port with access to international waters, two respected universities, and a thriving arts scene known for its Western swing music. In short, Tulsa is a lively city with great job prospects and continuing growth as a community.
Tulsa is currently home to over 385,000 people with more arriving each year. Why are so many people lining up to become Tulsans? The city's low cost of living is probably the biggest factor. Several studies done in recent years rank Tulsa as one of the most affordable metro areas in the nation. Pair that with a low unemployment rate (only 6.2% in the middle of a nationwide recession) and you've got a recipe for sustainability that is irresistible to job seekers. Tulsa's job market even draws commuters in from surrounding communities, increasing the city's daytime population by about 20%.
The heady "Oil Capitol of the World" days are over for Tulsa because the emphasis has since moved to offshore production. Currently the city's largest industry is aerospace, as there are over 300 companies in the city which specialize in aircraft development, production, and repair. The port also provides a large economic stimulus to the region, as does the health care sector, the telecommunications industry, and the insurance market. Manufacturing plays its part in the city's economy as well, with local factories turning out not just airplane parts but pipes, fiber optics, food, and recreation equipment.
With the economy spread throughout several industries and many different companies, even Tulsa's largest employers don't have employee rosters longer than 9,000 or so people. This gives the city the stability needed to weather a recession, because the collapse of one firm will not bring down the whole economy. The American Airlines maintenance facility is the city's biggest employer with 9,100 people, followed by Tulsa Public Schools and the city government. Other big hitters are the Hillcrest and St. John Medical Centers, the Bank of Oklahoma, and the Tulsa Community College.
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