Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas continued to add jobs, while employment fell slightly in Lawton compared to a year ago, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City area again recorded the lowest May unemployment rate in the nation at 4.5 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. It marked Oklahoma City's fourth-straight month to be the lowest among 49 of the biggest metros in the country.
John Carpenter, spokesman for the employment commission, said the distinction came even though the Oklahoma City metro jobless rate rose 0.5 percentage points, up from 4 percent in April.
All but one county saw increases in the unemployment rate in May. Carpenter said the month-to-month increase in the unemployment rate was typical for this time of year.
“It's not something where we would be saying it's time to panic,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter said the Oklahoma City metro area began adding jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector and in employment services in advance of summer.
Oklahoma City added 15,300 jobs since May 2011, an increase of 2.7 percent, the commission said. The mining and logging sector, which includes energy companies, led the gains with an increase of 12.5 percent in the last year. That was followed by professional and business services, which grew by 8.6 percent. Construction jobs fell by 4.3 percent since May 2011.
The Tulsa metro area had a jobless rate of 5.3 percent in May, up from 4.9 percent in April.
However, the commission said Tulsa added 10,500 jobs in the past year, a growth rate of 2.6 percent. Manufacturing accounted for half of that job growth, adding 5,000 jobs in the last year.
Professional and business service jobs also fared well, with an increase of 5 percent.
Lawton's jobless rate was 6.2 percent in May, up from 5.7 percent in April. The Lawton area lost 1,300 jobs in the past year, a decline of 2.9 percent, the commission reported. Service jobs fell by 1,400, a drop of 3.6 percent.
Generally, counties in the western part of the state had lower unemployment rates in May than counties on the eastern and southeastern side.
Dewey, Ellis and Roger Mills counties all posted unemployment rates of 2.3 percent in May, the commission said. Le Flore County, at 8.5 percent, and Latimer County, at 8.2 percent, had the state's highest jobless rates.