KGOU

Business Intelligence Report

Fridays at 6:44 a.m., 8:44 a.m., 12:35 p.m., and 5:44 p.m.

A weekly feature produced in partnership with the Journal Record, Oklahoma's weekday newspaper and website specializing in business, legislative and legal news. Editor Ted Streuli and Journal Record reporters discuss business and economic development in the state.

Ways to Connect

Chesapeake Energy employees leave buildings after layoffs were reported Sept. 29, 2015.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

The downturn in energy prices dominated the news cycle in Oklahoma in 2015, affecting the bottom line of every oil and natural gas producer, the state’s budget, and had countless trickle-down effects in a state with an economy so reliant on the energy sector.

The price plummet actually started in June 2014, when oil was still above $100 per barrel. They rapidly declined, beginning 2015 at around $55, and currently sit in the $30-40 range.

Recently appointed Labor Commissioner Melissa McLawhorn Houston introduces herself to employees at the Oklahoma Department of Labor in Oklahoma City on December 1, 2015.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

A little over a month ago Gov. Mary Fallin named Melissa Houston the state’s new Labor Commissioner. She accepted the job after Labor Commissioner Mark Costello was stabbed to death in August.

A sign advertising Thanksgiving weekend hours hangs in a window at Hancock Fabrics in Edmond.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

It’s officially “Black Friday.”

The day after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest retail shopping days of the year, but retail polling firm CivicScience expects to see 3 percent fewer people out shopping this year, which comes after down sales in 2014 as well.

Bethany Hardzinski / KGOU

On Tuesday, the first organized resistance to Oklahoma’s “right-to-farm” movement gathered at the state Capitol to voice their opposition to State Question 777, which will put the issue before a vote of the people in November 2016.

Some background: right-to-farm is the idea there’s a guaranteed, unalienable right for farmers and ranchers to earn a living free from government intervention.

An oil and gas operation in northwestern Oklahoma's Mississippi Lime formation.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

As SandRidge Energy struggles with $4.6 billion in debt and a faltering stock price that’s threatening its listing on the New York Stock Exchange, the Oklahoma City oil and gas company is facing another problem: Earthquakes and new regulations designed to slow the shaking:

A sign advertising job opportunities is displayed at the entrance of a Target store at 1200 E. Second St. in Edmond.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

It seems hard to believe, but November 6 marks three weeks until Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year and (depending on who you ask) the official launching point of the holiday season.

But retailers across Oklahoma are already starting to hire their seasonal workforce to keep up with the sharp spike in demand for goods and services.

Nationwide, big box retailers like Target say they’ll hire about 70,000 people, and Wal-Mart plans to bring on 60,000 new workers, according to Journal Record managing editor Adam Brooks.

Midtown Plaza Court
Kool Cats Photography / Wikimedia Commons

Back in June, the Oklahoma City Council voted to annex Midtown into the Downtown business improvement district, or BID.

The marketing, street furnishing, and the maintenance of the neighborhood will be overseen by the civic and development group Downtown Oklahoma City, Incorporated.

beer glasses
dr. coop / Flickr (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Last week’s announcement that the world’s two largest brewers would join forces has raised questions about monopolies and antitrust issues. But on a local level, the Anheuser Busch InBev-SABMiller merger could impact the state’s beer distribution network, and affect Oklahoma’s growing craft brew industry.

The site of downtown Oklahoma City’s new convention center will run along S. Broadway Avenue.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma City Council closed its meeting with an executive session, and when they emerged, it look less than 30 seconds to cap months of speculation and uncertainty over the site of the MAPS 3 Convention Center.

The council moved to pick a site known as East Park 1, located south of the Chesapeake Energy Arena from SW 3rd to SW 7th streets between Robinson Ave. and Shields Blvd.

Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

A week ago, the so-called “panhandling ordinance” dominated the Oklahoma City Council meeting, with several residents taking advantage of the public comment period to voice their concerns.

Former Chesapeake Energy employees leave the building with their belongings after the Sept. 29, 2015 buyouts.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

It's been a rocky five days for Oklahoma's energy sector, with downsizing, buyouts, and even a possible de-listing from the New York Stock Exchange.

Donald Trump speaks during a New Hampshire town hall meeting on August 19th, 2015 at Pinkerton Academy in Derry.
Michael Vadon / Flickr

The Oklahoma State Fair could see a noticeable economic boost from Friday's visit by Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.

Chesapeake Energy's Oklahoma City campus
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

It's been an interesting year for Chesapeake Energy.

The Oklahoma City-based energy giant is involved in a lawsuit with the company's founder, Aubrey McClendon, over some hazy corporate law issues involving his new company - American Energy Partners.

First National Center in Oklahoma City
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

It's September in Oklahoma, which is a pretty lousy time to shut off the air conditioner.

That's exactly what happened at the First National Center in downtown Oklahoma City this week. The 84-year-old skyscraper in downtown Oklahoma has been for sale for well over a year, and last week employees and tenants that work in the building started moving their belongings out. On Tuesday, the building's utility company shut off A/C, which affected retail businesses and restaurants on the building's first floor.

Workers uncap a well in the western Oklahoma oil field in 2014.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Slumping oil prices have fueled thousands of job losses in big energy states like Oklahoma, which is “gripped by a mini-recession,” economist Mark Snead tells the Journal Record‘s Kirby Lee Davis:

“The notion that Oklahoma has diversified away from oil and gas is, at this point, many, many years away,” he said.

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Oklahoma City covers more than 600 square miles, and completely surrounds several communities. That can lead to lost or delayed revenue, which is becoming even more problematic with the rise of so-called “gig economy” businesses like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb.

During Tuesday’s city council meeting, Oklahoma City’s assistant treasurer Matt Boggs said Oklahoma City recapture $1.1 million in lost revenue during the fiscal year that ended June 30.

A Norman Forward sign on Flood Ave. across from McKinley Elementary.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

For months, drivers around Norman have probably noticed red-and-blue "Norman Forward" signs adorning medians, parking strips, and front lawns.

On Tuesday, the City Council approved an ordinance to put a half-penny sales tax on the ballot this fall that's more or less Norman's version of Oklahoma City's MAPS 3 proposal.

Journal Record managing editor Adam Brooks says the 15-year sales tax extension's goal is to raise $209 million to fund revenue bonds.

Algae grow on the floor of the pipe room in the Hugo water plant because water leaks constantly, as shown in this late July photo.
Sarah Terry-Cobo / The Journal Record

About 7,000 residents in Hugo lived for months with unsafe drinking water because a private company improperly disinfected municipal water supplies and misreported data to local and state officials.

oil pump jack
Paul Lowry / Flickr

There’s an interesting side effect of the downturn in energy prices that started late last year – a strong trend in business sales.

After being laid off from the oil and gas sector, many former employees look to something completely different. In a lot of cases they have savings, plus a big severance package, and The Journal Record’s managing editor Adam Brooks says a business can be a good investment, and it’s a good time to buy.

Guards make their rounds on the eighth floor of the Oklahoma County Jail in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

For the past few months a committee has been looking at how to pay for a new Oklahoma County Jail, and made its recommendation on Tuesday.

The facility is only about 25 years old, but it’s had construction problems, mold, sewage in the cells – to the point where the U.S. Department of Justice stepped in and said the inmates faced violations of their constitutional rights.

Pages