Energy powers Oklahoma's wage growth

Oklahoma ranked second in nation in wage growth between June 2012 and June 2013, trailing only North Dakota.
BY BRIANNA BAILEY bbailey@opubco.com Modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:35 pm •  Published: January 18, 2014
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The state and Oklahoma County showed some of the strongest wage growth in the nation from June 2012 to June 2013, due primarily to growth in energy sector jobs, according to federal data released Friday.

Oklahoma wages in the state grew by 3.5 percent between June 2012 and June 2013, putting the state second in the nation for wage growth behind North Dakota, where wages grew an average of 3.7 percent.

Like North Dakota, much of Oklahoma and Oklahoma County's wage growth came from energy sector jobs, said James D. Howard Jr., an economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Looking at Oklahoma County, it has a little more than twice the amount of employment concentration in the (energy) industry when compared to the U.S.,” Howard said. “In Oklahoma, those would be oil and natural gas jobs, and those wages are typically higher than the national average.”

Oklahoma was ranked 35th in the nation for pay, with an average weekly wage of $794.

Weekly wages in Oklahoma County grew by 4.2 percent from June 2012 to June 2013, according to the Labor Department data.

Oklahoma County ranked No. 16 in the nation for wage growth out the country's 334 largest counties. Wage growth in Oklahoma County was twice the U.S. average wage increase of 2.1 percent for the same period.

Oklahoma County had the highest weekly wages in the state at $875 per week, followed by Tulsa County at $882 per week. The national average weekly wage was $921.