• Market Crumbs

You Can Get Paid $10,000 To Move To Tulsa...Will Other Cities Follow?

Image via Alexander Mils on Unsplash

When you think of Tulsa, Oklahoma, you may not think it's becoming a hotbed for coworking spaces filled with young professionals working remotely. The landlocked city with a population of about 400,000 people is often referred to as the "Oil Capital of the World."

Thanks to a program called Tulsa Remote, that's exactly what is happening. The program, which is funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation—an influential Tulsa-based philanthropy, is attracting people to Tulsa by paying them $10,000 in cash, providing desk space and offering other perks. The program is one of the first of its kind in the U.S., with similar ones implemented in Vermont, Alabama and Kansas.

After seeing its population peak in 2016, Tulsa Remote is seen as a way to lure in talent to help reverse the declining population and boost the city's economy.

"The last few years have been the slowest population growth [in the state] since the late ‘80s, early ‘90s," said Chad Wilkerson, branch executive of the Kansas City Fed’s Oklahoma City Branch office. "A good amount of it is driven by the downturn of the energy sector in 2014 and 2015, and people seeking jobs elsewhere."

Tulsa Remote is touting the city's cost of living as its selling point to attract people from expensive coastal cities. The median home price in Tulsa is $157,200—43% below the national average, while the average rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $658 per month.

Tulsa Remote's website even compares Tulsa's cost of living to popular coastal cities that are facing affordability crises. Compared to San Francisco, the cost of living in Tulsa is 50% lower with the median home price 83% lower. Compared to Seattle, the cost of living and median home price in Tulsa are 38% and 68% lower, respectively. Compared to New York, the cost of living in Tulsa is a staggering 61% lower with the median home price 60% lower.

"The citizens of Tulsa have invested substantial public funds to build the types of things that we believe make Tulsa a more appealing place for a new generation of workers," said Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum. "And the Tulsa Remote program is really a great way to introduce the very kinds of workers that we’re hoping to appeal to, to the city that we’ve been building for the last decade to appeal to them."

Given some of the fastest-growing cities in the country are in states such as Texas, Arizona and Nevada, Tulsa Remote knows exactly what it's doing by literally paying people to come work in a place that is significantly cheaper than most cities. Given Tulsa Remote is now accepting more workers than it did when it began in November 2018, it won't be surprising to see more cities across the country introduce similar programs.

Leftover Crumbs

  • Mortgage refinances spike. With the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropping to 3.57% from 3.73% last week, refinance applications jumped 26%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Total mortgage volume increased 15% over the same period. Compared to the same period a year ago, refinance volume has surged 224%. "Given the further drop in Treasury rates this week, we expect refinance activity will increase even more until fears subside and rates stabilize," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s senior vice president and chief economist.

  • Facebook is lending a hand to the WHO. Amidst the outbreak of the coronavirus, Facebook has decided to provide the World Health Organization (WHO) free advertisements to ensure users are well informed. Users who search for the coronavirus will see pop-ups that redirect them to the WHO or other local health organizations. Facebook also announced it will remove "false claims and conspiracy theories" flagged by health organizations. "We're giving the WHO as many free ads as they need for their coronavirus response along with other in-kind support," Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.

  • All good things must end. Costco will begin requiring a membership to eat at its food courts beginning in mid-March. The costco food court is infamous for its hot dog and soda combo that has remained $1.50 for the last 35 years, as well as $1.99 pizza and $1 churros. Many were noticeably upset with the news, including one Twitter user who tweeted "Costco requiring an active membership to buy food from their food court is classist."

  • Will they even have the Olympics? NBCUniversal has sold $1.25 billion worth of ads for this year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which marks a new record for any broadcaster. NBCUniversal has sold nearly 90% of its ads for the games, which are scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9, assuming the coronavirus outbreak doesn't cause them to be cancelled. NBCUniversal set the previous record of $1.2 billion during the 2016 Summer Olympics. Should the games be cancelled, NBCUniversal has insurance that will enable them to recoup their expenses.

  • Competition brings price cuts. As countless companies enter the market to provide alternatives to meat, Impossible Foods announced it is slashing the wholesale price of its products by 15%. The move is aimed towards getting more people to try the plant-based option, which is typically more expensive than meat. "We are asking our distributors to pass along the price cuts that average around 15% to restaurants," Impossible Foods President Dennis Woodside said.