Oklahoma's jobless rate dips

BY DEBBIE BLOSSOM Published: December 19, 2009
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Oklahoma’s jobless rate inched down to 7.0 percent in November after hitting a two-decade high of 7.1 percent in October. But the slightest of declines is noticeably higher than a year ago, when unemployment was only 4.4 percent.

Seasonally adjusted state and regional unemployment numbers released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department showed more states lost jobs than added them in November, an indication that hiring is occurring only in pockets across the nation.

Oklahoma shed 6,000 jobs in November, with almost 50,000 jobs lost since the same time last year, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reported. The biggest slump continued in manufacturing, which lost 1,500 jobs last month, followed by 1,100 positions in professional and business services and 1,000 construction jobs.

No longer counted
Unemployment rates dropped in 36 states and the District of Columbia, the report said, but that trend appeared to reflect more people leaving the work force. Unemployed people who stop looking for jobs aren’t counted in the labor force.

The number of people jobless for at least six months rose last month to 5.9 million, according to a separate report released earlier this month. The average length of unemployment exceeds 28 weeks, the longest on records dating to 1948.

For Oklahoma City restaurateur Greg Gawey, the recession’s impact became very apparent this week.

The owner of Jamil’s Steakhouse was astonished when more than 60 people applied for a part-time, $8-an-hour dishwashing position posted in a tiny, two-line newspaper ad.