Oklahoma’s unemployment rate inched down to 4.6 percent in April, down three-tenths of a percentage point from 4.9 in March, according to numbers released Friday by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
The April data paints a strong picture of the local economy for the most part, said Lynn Gray, chief economist for OESC.
“There was large decline in the number of unemployed Oklahomans, continuing a trend now seen for several months,” Gray said.
The national unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent in April, down from 6.7 percent in March, according to data released by the U.S. Labor Department.
Rhode Island had the highest unemployment rate among the states in April at 8.3 percent while North Dakota had the lowest jobless rate at 2.6 percent.
Unemployment rates fell in 43 states in April according to the Labor Department. Jobless rates rose in two states and were unchanged in five.
Employers added jobs in 39 states, while 10 states lost jobs in April. Job growth was flat in Nebraska.
Statewide, unemployment declined by nearly 5,600 people over the month. Over the year, seasonally adjusted unemployment declined by 11,180 people, an 11.7 percent drop.
Oklahoma added 4,100 jobs in April, a 0.2 percent increase. The leisure and hospitality sector saw the largest job gains in the state, adding 1,800 positions over the month. The construction sector claimed the largest job loss in Oklahoma for the month, a decline of 1,100 positions.
Hotels, restaurants grow
On the establishment survey, the state is seeing continued job growth across many sectors, Gray said. “But it is slightly disappointing that so many of our new jobs are in the relatively low-paying accommodation and food services area,” he said.
Accommodation and food services added 1,800 positions in Oklahoma in April, a 1.3 percent increase for the month, accounting for all of the job growth in the leisure and hospitality sector.