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Business Intelligence Report

Wednesdays

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

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Workers at a site of a pipeline under construction along state Highway 75 north of Horntown.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

This is the Business Intelligence Report, a weekly conversation about business news in Oklahoma. Joining me this week is Russell Ray, editor of The Journal Record.

 

The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the economy. By the end of this month we could be talking about levels of unemployment not seen since the worst days of the Great Depression. About 100-thousand Americans are dead as a result of COVID-19, even as the nation and our state attempt to slowly reopen. So, when there’s any kind of news that can be interpreted as somewhat positive, in any way, I want to put some focus on it. Russell, as was reported in The Journal Record last week, first time unemployment claims in Oklahoma are dropping.

Where's The Beef ... And Pork And Poultry?

May 20, 2020
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

COVID-19 has affected the meat processing industry profoundly. The pandemic has caused serious workforce disruptions for the sector, which impacted plants’ ability to process meat efficiently and led to producers euthanizing excess animals.

 

Now, the Oklahoma Legislature is stepping in. Last week, the state Senate unanimously passed House Bill 2008, which would allow cattle producers to take their processed products directly to the market, allowing virtual inspections and other measures.

 

Russell Ray, editor of The Journal Record joined KGOU's Logan Layden to discuss.  

Oklahoma Event Organizers Consider Options As State Tries To Reopen

May 13, 2020
Oklahoma City Thunder fans watch a live broadcast in Thunder Alley outside Chesapeake Energy Arena in this Journal Record file photo.
The Journal Record

As Oklahoma navigates plans to reopen slowly, event organizers must decide whether to hold their functions in person, move them online or cancel altogether. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses how some of the state's most beloved occasions could change in the wake of COVID-19. 

Lawsuits Likely As Businesses Reopen

May 6, 2020
Suzanne Hutton cleans her barber’s chair between clients at The Barber Shop in Broken Arrow on April 24.
(Matt Barnard/Tulsa World via AP)

As Oklahoma and other states begin to reopen slowly, attorneys say businesses will likely face liability lawsuits related to COVID-19. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses how litigation costs could devastate small businesses. 

Oklahoma's Oil Industry Could Face 'Worst Case Scenario'

Apr 29, 2020
The West Texas Intermediate futures contract for May increased $47.64 to close Tuesday at $10.01, while June WTI decreased $8.86 to close at $11.57 and July WTI decreased $7.59 to close at $18.69.
(Journal record file photo)

Oil prices have stabilized after an unprecedented plunge last week, but economists are still forecasting a grim scenario for Oklahoma, which relies heavily on the oil and gas industry. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses last week's negative oil contract prices, as well as what measure the state is considering to mitigate the problem. 

OKC Health Department Deliberates Businesses Reopening

Apr 22, 2020
Bryan Hall carries his sign as he walks along drivers during the Let’s Get Oklahoma Open For Business rally at the Oklahoma Capitol in Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
(Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman via AP)

Members of the Oklahoma City-County Board of Health are deliberating which guidelines the state should consider when deciding when to reopen non-essential businesses. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses civil liberties, collective health and what elected officials are saying about reopening.

Community Bankers Struggle To Process PPP Loans

Apr 15, 2020
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday tweeted that more than $875 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans had already been processed.
(AP photo/Alex Brandon)

The federal Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, is part of a $2.2 trillion economic relief package passed by Congress. It authorizes loans to help businesses struggling to pay employees amid a steep economic downturn due to COVID-19. But sources say some community bankers struggled to access the system to process these loans, leaving them trailing behind larger financial institutions. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses what went wrong -- and some good news out of Tulsa. 

Assistance Package To Aid OKC Businesses

Apr 8, 2020
The Oklahoma City Municipal building. The Oklahoma City Council unanimously approved a $5.5 million assistance package that will provide incentive payments, grants, loans and technical assistance to businesses.
(Journal Record file photo)

The Oklahoma City Council approved a $5.5 million relief package for small businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses how the city will implement the plan, as well as why officials say this amount of money likely won't be enough. 

Oklahoma Businesses Will Require SBA Funding

Apr 1, 2020
A worker mops the floor at a nearly empty food court at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, as airlines limit flights due to the virus outbreak.
(AP photo/Sue Ogrocki)

In light of economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic, Oklahoma state officials say many businesses will turn to the U.S. Small Business Administration for low-interest loans. Unemployment claims in the state are also at a high as workers are laid off. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses the specifics of SBA loans and the state's unemployment trust fund. 

Gun Sales Spike Amid COVID-19 Concerns

Mar 25, 2020
H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City.
(Photo by Mark Hancock)

As the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, gun sales in Oklahoma have risen. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses what gun shop owners are saying about the phenomenon, as well as the psychological reasons for this spike in firearms sales. 

 

Devon Energy announced Thursday an immediate 30% decrease in its capital budget for 2020.
Journal Record

The convergence of COVID-19 and recent OPEC disagreements has been called a perfect storm for Oklahoma. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses how, amid the concerns, energy companies in the state are gearing up to slash costs and possibly implement more layoffs.

Oklahoma Reduces Cap On Natural Gas Production

Mar 11, 2020
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission voted 2-1 Thursday to lower the maximum permitted rates of natural gas production from 65%, a number set in 1997, to 50% of wellhead open-flow potential or 2 million cubic feet per day, whichever is greater.
(Journal Record file photo)

For the first time since 1997, Oklahoma has changed its cap on natural gas production. The decrease comes amid a glut of resources and concerns about low oil and gas prices. Journal Record editor Russell Ray explains what the industry's big players are saying about the change. 

OG&E Reports Earnings Spike

Mar 4, 2020
OG&E’s full-year earnings were $350 million, or $1.74 per share, up from $328 million, or $1.64 per share, in 2018.
(Journal Record file photo)

Oklahoma's biggest utility, Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company, reported an earnings increase for the past year. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses what caused OG&E's revenue spike, as well as the utility's plans to modernize the state's electrical grid. 

Proposed Legislation Could Bolster Oklahoma's Electric Vehicle Industry

Feb 26, 2020
HB 3112 would allow for engineers specializing in EV battery development to avoid paying some state income tax. HB 3115 would modify an existing law to include companies already established in the state that might consider investments in the EV market.
(Courtesy photo/Cherokee Nation)

Two bills intended to help Oklahoma's electric vehicle industry are moving through the state Legislature. If they become law, EV engineers could avoid paying part of the state income tax if they settle in Oklahoma, and companies that invest in EV technology could receive tax breaks. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses the specifics of the proposed legislation. 

Oklahoma Leads Nation In Number Of Cannabis Dispensaries

Feb 12, 2020
The Rabbit Hole medical marijuana dispensary at 2500 NW 23rd St. in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma ranks first in licensed cannabis dispensaries and second in dispensaries per capita, according to recent national reports.
(Journal Record file photo)

Since 2018, Oklahoma's medical marijuana industry has grown rapidly. Currently, the state leads the nation in the number of cannabis dispensaries, and it ranks second for dispensaries per capita. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses two reports that give insight into the prevalence of Oklahoma's cannabis business. 

Oklahoma GPT Collections Fall

Jan 22, 2020
State tax collections from the production of oil and natural gas in December totaled $54.3 million, down $37.1 million from December 2018 and $21.6 million, or 28.4%, less than expected by the state.
(Journal Record file photo)

Gross production tax collections in Oklahoma have been down for four consecutive months, and a steep drop in oil prices could be to blame. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses what this downward trend could mean for 2020. 

New Turnpike Extension Could Stimulate Business Growth

Jan 15, 2020
Lanes of the Southwest Extension of the Kilpatrick Turnpike were formally opened Thursday, a project that is expected to accelerate business investments in Oklahoma City.
(Photo by Mark Hancock)

A new 7.5-mile segment of the Kilpatrick Turnpike has opened in Oklahoma City. Leaders say the road could stimulate business interest in southwest OKC, which has been described as the state's fastest-growing area. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses the road's project costs and its significance to the state. 

Oklahoma Commerce Department Sets Goals For 2020

Jan 8, 2020
Mechanics work to reattach an engine to a MD-80 airline at the American Airlines maintenance facility in Tulsa. Highly trained professionals are needed to encourage aerospace growth in Oklahoma, said Brent Kisling, executive director of the OCD
(Journal Record file photo)

The Oklahoma Department of Commerce announced its goals for the new year, including alleviating a 140,000-person statewide workforce gap and diversifying the state's economy. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses plans for meeting these objectives. 

Oklahoma's Economy Could Slow, Expert Says

Dec 11, 2019
Robert Dauffenbach speaks at a forum on the economy held Wednesday at the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University.
(Photo by Steve Metzer)

The national economy is showing signs of slowing, and Oklahoma's economy could follow. Robert Dauffenbach, director of the Center for Economic and Management Research at the University of Oklahoma, says this is due in part to the state's reliance on oil and natural gas production. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses what Oklahomans should know about a possible economic downturn. 

Oklahoma City Nonprofit School Helps Homeless Children

Dec 4, 2019
Boys and girls at Positive Tomorrows, a tuition-free private school in Oklahoma City for children whose families struggle with homelessness, recently welcomed a group of special visitors, players on the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team.
(Courtesy Positive Tomorrows)

The new campus for Positive Tomorrows, an Oklahoma City nonprofit school for homeless children, opened Dec.2.  The school enrolls students who struggle with homelessness, helps them and their families, and eventually intergrates them into public school. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses how the $15 million project was financed and how Positive Tomorrows was designed to fit the specific needs of its students. 

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