For the fifth-straight month, the Oklahoma City metro area had the lowest unemployment rate among the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, the U.S. Labor Department said Wednesday.
The Oklahoma City metro’s unemployment rate was 5 percent in June, the lowest among 49 metro areas across the nation with a population of at least 1 million. However, that rate was up from 4.5 percent in May, the figures show.
Nationwide, unemployment rates were lower in June than a year earlier in 328 of the 372 metropolitan areas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said. The jobless rate was higher in 32 areas, and unchanged in 12 areas.
Meanwhile, unemployment rates increased in June in all but one of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reported. Tillman County remained steady at 4.5 percent in June.
The number of employed and the number of unemployed both rose in June. Employment increased by almost 19,000 from May. But the ranks of the unemployed also grew by 9,500. The local numbers are not adjusted for seasonal differences.
Much of the June job losses came from the government sector. In the Oklahoma City metro, government employment fell by 4.1 percent from May to June. Employment in Tulsa’s government sector dropped by 4.8 percent for the month.
“It’s mostly caused by public schools and universities letting out for the summer,” said John Carpenter, spokesman for the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
The Oklahoma City metro area added 15,500 jobs in the last year, an increase of 2.7 percent. Tulsa equaled that growth rate and added 10,800 jobs since June 2011, the commission said.
In the Lawton area, employment fell by 1,100 jobs in the last year, a decline of 2.5 percent.
Carpenter said the job market is still very tight.