Oklahoma jobless rate is reaching new heights

BY DEBBIE BLOSSOM Published: May 23, 2009
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State economists’ predictions that Oklahoma’s jobless rate would increase as the national recession continued remained on target as the April rate jumped to 6.2 percent from the 5.9 percent rate reported in March, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission said Friday.

Oklahoma’s unemployment rate is still below the national jobless rate reported for April.

The national unemployment rate has reached 8.9 percent, the U.S. Labor Department reported.

The state lost 7,500 nonfarm jobs in April, the OESC said. Nationwide, 539,000 jobs were cut last month as the recession maintained its grip on company growth and consumer spending.

"This is pretty much what I thought it would be for April, unfortunately,” OESC research economist Lynn Gray said.

"I think we’re looking at a pattern for Oklahoma and the rest of the country for the rest of the year,” Gray said.

Where are the cuts?
Statewide, job cuts were highest in the professional and business services sector, which lost 2,700 positions in April. There were 2,600 jobs cut in trade, transportation and utilities, and 700 in mining.

Adding jobs in April were construction, educational and health services and other services.

Over the year, though, manufacturing saw the biggest job declines with 13,600 positions cut.

Gray said he believes the economy is starting to improve, and although the jobless rate is rising, it’s doing so more slowly

Even after the gross domestic product shows positive progress, "it could easily take 12 months for the labor market to improve,” he said.


Also ...
How other states fared

→Oklahoma was among 44 states that lost jobs last month, the Labor Department said.

→Northern Plains and Western states had the lowest unemployment, with North Dakota registering the lowest rate at 4 percent. Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota followed, in that order.

→The country’s highest jobless rate of 12.9 percent was in Michigan.

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