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Oklahoma jobless rate is up slightly

Oklahoma's unemployment rate rose in June for the second consecutive month.
BY JAY F. MARKS jmarks@opubco.com Modified: July 19, 2013 at 8:15 pm •  Published: July 19, 2013
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Oklahoma's jobless rate is still on rise, as the state lost about 4,800 jobs in June.

That pushed Oklahoma's unemployment rate to 5.2 percent, up from 5.1 percent in May, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

Lynn Gray, the commission's chief economist, said he was most concerned about the loss of 2,300 mining industry jobs last month.

“Either it's really bad or it's an aberration,” he said.

Gray said there is a chance the decline could even out when June's job numbers are finalized.

“It's just one month and it's preliminary,” he said. “The economy has certainly slowed.”

Before last month, Oklahoma had not seen an increase in its jobless rate since July 2012.

Oklahoma's unemployment rate, which is the same as it was last June, still is well below the national average. The U.S. unemployment rate held steady in June at 7.6 percent.

Unemployment rates rose in 28 U.S. states last month, partly because more Americans started looking for work and not all of them found jobs.

Unemployment rates fell in 11 states and were unchanged in another 11, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Economists hope that better hiring nationwide will accelerate growth in the second half of this year. Employers added an average of 202,000 jobs per month in the first six months of this year, up from 180,000 in the previous six months.

CONTRIBUTING: The Associated Press