The unique challenges we face today could make us forget that we are living in one of the most productive times in history, where jobs and opportunities abound for Oklahoma residents willing to commit time. and efforts in their chosen field of work. They drive our economy forward. Former pro baseball player Sam Ewing said it best when he said that “hard work shines a light on people’s character: some roll up their sleeves, some roll up their noses, and some don’t show up. all “. In this time of uncertainty compounded by policies that discourage work, we should be grateful to those who come forward.
After the precarious lockdowns of the past year, many Oklahomans have chosen not to return to the workforce. I recognize that some may be afraid of the virus. I suspect many are complacent and instead trusted federal unemployment benefits instead of contributing as part of the Oklahoma workforce. The ramifications of their decisions could cost our state untold amounts of lost productivity if we do not correct the course now.
An informal review of job postings across the state today reveals that there are enough jobs open in Oklahoma to meet the number of unemployed Oklahoma workers, but open positions remain vacant in the ‘Oklahoma. Most of the employers I speak with have difficulty finding workers. A positive point is that the Oklahomans in positions produce substantial production.
The State Chamber Research Foundation’s Economic Competitiveness Index (ECI) ranks Oklahoma 16th in terms of productivity. Conversely, Oklahoma ranks 34th out of 50 states for work participation rate. Without more Oklahoma residents entering the workforce, we risk losing the productivity that drives a thriving economy.
Oklahoma residents who show up for work today are not only earning a living for themselves and their families, they are also playing a key role in growing Oklahoma’s economy in these unusual times. I encourage all Oklahoma business owners and operators to thank their employees for coming and rolling up their sleeves to work. We must all thank the nurses, restaurant servers, gas station attendants, customer service representatives, educators, and grocery store clerks and stockers for doing their part to keep our economy going. They are truly the lifeblood of Oklahoma’s economy.
Chad Warmington is the President and CEO of The State Chamber.