Oklahoma City tied for nation's lowest unemployment rate

Oklahoma City jobless rate of 3.8 percent in April tied with Austin, Texas, for the lowest unemployment rate among large U.S. cities, according to a monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Wednesday.
BY CATHERINE SWEENEY, Business Writer Published: May 29, 2014

A significant drop in unemployment shoved the Oklahoma City metro back to the top in the nation’s jobless rate rankings.

Oklahoma City jobless rate of 3.8 percent in April tied with Austin, Texas, for the lowest unemployment rate among large U.S. cities, according to a monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Wednesday. The report compared 49 metro areas with populations of more than one million.

Oklahoma City’s unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in March.

The jobless rate usually drops in April, said Lynn Gray, chief economist at the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

“The seasonal patterns are very strong,” he said. “But that’s not all that’s going on this April.”

The improvement implies seasonality is not the only factor of change, said Eric Long, research economist at the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

Usually, the March to April change is about 0.4 percent, he said. This year, the change was a full percentage point.

“That is a considerable improvement,” he said. “A full percentage … is not explained by season.”

Oklahoma City has been within the top five metros ranked for low unemployment rates for the past 40 months, Long said.

Unemployment rates dropped in all 77 Oklahoma counties in April, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reported.