Oklahoma City in April again recorded the lowest unemployment rate among U.S. cities of 1 million people or more, according to figures released Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the April jobless rate fell in 76 of Oklahoma's 77 counties from the previous month, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission said. In March, the unemployment rate fell in every Oklahoma county.
Oklahoma City's 4 percent unemployment rate was the lowest among the nation's 49 largest cities for the third straight month, the U.S. Labor Department said. The metro area's jobless rate declined 0.4 of a percentage point from the March figure.
Two sectors that help drive Oklahoma City's employment growth over the past year were mining and logging, which includes energy and manufacturing. The former grew 10.8 percent over the 12-month period, while the latter was up by 6.5 percent.
Lynn Gray, chief economist for the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, explained expansion in those sectors causes a positive ripple effect in the local economy because energy and manufacturing jobs pay higher-than-average wages and produce tangible goods.
“This isn't a story of us just selling hamburgers to each other,” Gray said. “These jobs are exporting things out of the state.”
The good news wasn't limited to just the metro area, Gray said.
“We had a real good statewide report with a significant decline in unemployment,” he said. “It was a good month for the state.”
The Tulsa metro area's unemployment rate also continued its downward fall last month as it tumbled to 4.9 percent.
The improved rate confirms what some staffing firms say they are seeing — strong demand for certain positions and more turnover as current employees hunt for new jobs.
Tulsa metro's rate has steadily declined since January when the area recorded a 7 rate followed by 6.9 percent in February and 5.3 percent in March.