Oklahoma City jobless rate ticks up; still among lowest in large U.S. cities
Oklahoma unemployment: The Oklahoma City metro unemployment rate rose to 5.9 percent in January, the second-lowest rate among metro areas with 1 million people or more.
The Oklahoma City metro's jobless rate climbed to 5.9 percent in January, still the second-lowest unemployment rate for a metropolitan area of 1 million people or more, according to government figures issued Friday.
U.S. jobless rate is 8.8% in January
El Centro, Calif., continued to have the highest unemployment rate in the country, at 26.4 percent, while Bismarck, N.D., and Lincoln, Neb., registered the lowest at 3.8 percent each, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The U.S. unemployment rate for January is 8.8 percent.
The Washington, D.C., area recorded the lowest jobless rate among the nation's 49 largest cities at 5.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The Oklahoma City metro's rate, which was 5.6 percent in December, was tied for second lowest with Minneapolis-St. Paul.
A year ago, Oklahoma City's unemployment rate was 6.3 percent. Nationally, unemployment was down in 345 of 372 metro areas, while it rose in 16 and was unchanged in 11 areas.
The Tulsa metro's jobless rate rose to 7 percent, up from 6.8 percent in December. A year ago at the same time, the Tulsa metro's jobless rate stood at 7.6 percent.
“It's not a concern. It's a seasonal thing. … It's purely that,” said Bob Ball, economic research manager for the Tulsa Metro Chamber about Friday's report.
Businesses often beef up staffing around the holidays, and then people quit or are let go afterward, which influences the job numbers, he said.
“If you look at the rural part of the state, Oklahoma City and Lawton — the state's other two MSAs — it's the same pattern,” Ball said. “You probably see it pretty much in a lot of places across the country.”
The higher monthly rate doesn't match what some employment agencies say they are experiencing.
“We've never had more open positions in the history of our company,” said Casey Lamb, president of Tulsa-based American StaffCorp. “We aren't out looking for new business because we have all the business we can handle. It's all about finding qualified employees to fill all of our open positions.”
Lamb noted that job demand is broad-based, with positions available in manufacturing, clerical, call center and professional positions.
“There are plenty of jobs out there for individuals ready to go to work,” Lamb said.