Oklahoma’s new economic development initiative

Oklahoma’s economy is strong, even though the national economy is not. We’ve benefited from a strong energy sector as we produce oil and gas. How will Oklahoma stay strong as things continue to change? The Oklahoma Department of Commerce reported on the state’s new economic development initiative in their newsletter, Community Developer.

Electrical Wind turbine
Wind power is a significant energy sector
in Western Oklahoma. 

The state evaluated industries based on wealth generation, growth potential, and competitive advantage. They have picked out the five strongest industries:

  • Aerospace and Defense
  • Energy
  • Agriculture and Biosciences
  • Information and Financial Services
  • Transportation and Distribution

“Instead of primarily focusing on business recruitment, the strategy addresses a broader set of policies that can expand and accelerate industries and infrastructure needs,” the Community Developer reported.

The listed actions are to:

  • train an appropriate workforce, 
  • remove unnecessary regulation, 
  • create pro-growth incentives, 
  • identify infrastructure needs and 
  • align the state’s policies so that they become even more competitive in the global economy 

Here’s the list of “high priority” industries for Oklahoma with examples and “ecosystems”.


  • Parts and Components Manufacturing
  • Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul
  • Unmanned Aerial Systems


  • Machinery Manufacturing
  • Natural Gas Products
  • Distribution
  • Engineering Services


  • Food Manufacturing
  • Commodity Production and Distribution
  • Fertilizer Manufacturing
  • Research and Development


  • Data Centers
  • Banking and Investment
  • Cyber Security
  • Computer Systems


  • Air, Rail Water and Pipeline
  • Equipment Manufacturing
  • Warehousing and Storage
  • Wholesale Brokers

Energy, Agriculture, and Transportation are all industries with a significant rural component.

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About Becky McCray

Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband own a retail liquor store in Alva, Oklahoma, and a small cattle ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.

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