Oklahoma City's 4.9 percent jobless rate in February was the lowest among large U.S. cities for the 11th straight month.
The city's unemployment rate declined from January's 5.2 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Austin, Texas, area, with a rate of 5.4 percent, ranked just behind Oklahoma City among metro areas of 1 million or more in February, the agency said.
The Oklahoma City area added 5,600 jobs in February with the biggest gain coming in the government sector, which added 3,600 jobs, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
Tulsa's unemployment rate in February was 5.6 percent, and Lawton's jobless rate was 6.6 percent, the bureau reported.
Unemployment rates fell in more than 80 percent of large U.S. cities in February from January, suggesting that strong hiring that month benefited the vast majority of the country.
The Labor Department says rates fell in 311 of the nation's 372 largest metro areas. They rose in 45 and were unchanged in 16.
Fewer jobs added
Nationwide, employers added 268,000 jobs in February, the most in a year. That pushed down the unemployment rate to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent. But hiring slowed sharply last month, when employers added only 88,000 jobs.
Unlike the national unemployment figures, the metro data aren't adjusted for seasonal factors, such as the layoff of temporary retail employees after the winter holidays. That can make the data volatile from month to month.
The jobless rate fell in 70 of Oklahoma's 77 counties, while the rates were unchanged in five counties and higher in two, the state Employment Security Commission said.
The lowest county jobless rates were out west, with a 2.2 percent rate in Roger Mills County and 2.4 percent in Ellis County.
The highest unemployment rates were in southeastern Oklahoma, where Le Flore County's 9.7 percent rate was the state's worst. Sequoyah County had a 9.3 percent jobless rate, followed by McCurtain County at 8.9 percent.