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Oklahoma jobless rate inches up to 5 percent

Oklahoma's jobless rate rose to 5 percent in May, post its first increase since last July.
BY JAY F. MARKS jmarks@opubco.com Modified: June 21, 2013 at 10:00 pm •  Published: June 21, 2013
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For the first time in nearly a year, Oklahoma's jobless rate increased in May.

Oklahoma's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 5 percent last month, up 0.1 percentage points.

It was the first time the state reported an increase in its jobless rate since July 2012, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, but the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate still dropped slightly over the same point last year.

Lynn Gray, the commission's chief economist, said the numbers are a sign that Oklahoma's ongoing job growth is slowing.

“It's not a great report,” Gray said, but there are positives. “Over the year, we're still adding jobs. Unemployment is still quite low.”

Oklahoma remains well below the U.S. unemployment rate, which rose 0.1 percentage points in May to 7.6 percent.

Thirty-three states saw unemployment rates fall last month, while Oklahoma was among 17 to post an increase. Eight others were unchanged.

33 states add jobs

Hiring has been steady nationwide, leading to a better job market in many areas of the country. Employers added jobs in 33 states last month. The biggest gains were in Ohio, Texas and Michigan.

Oklahoma's leisure and hospitality sector showed the strongest growth in May, adding 3,400 jobs and accounting for almost all of Oklahoma's job growth. The trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 3,000 jobs during the month.

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