State Employment Growth Higher Than Region, Nation / from 1979-1984, Says Fed Bank Report

Article excerpt

Employment growth figures for Oklahoma between 1979 and 1984 were higher than those for the seven-state Tenth Federal Rese rve District and the nation as a whole, according to statistics compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City.

The Kansas City bank reported that total employment in Oklahoma grew 8.9 percent between 1979 and 1984, while tenth district employment grew 6.6 percent and employment nationwide was up 6 percent.

The tenth district includes Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

The study showed that rural and urban employment in Oklahoma was dramatically higher than the district and the nation during the period from 1979 to 1982. The state showed total employment growth of 8.1 percent, compared to 0.4 percent growth in the tenth district and a decline of 2.3 percent nationwide.

However, Oklahoma took a dive for the period from 1982 to 1984, when total employment growth was a meager 0.7 percent compared to the tenth district increase of 6.2 percent and an increase of 8.4 percent for the country.

The high growth of the first three years sustained Oklahoma's position for the overall period, figures showed.

"Energy and agriculture are pretty much the story" of the decline in Oklahoma's employment growth, said Dr. Glenn Miller, economist for the Kansas City bank.

Noting the higher proportion of oil in Oklahoma than the tenth district and the nation as a whole, Miller said manufacturing is also tied to the oil industry.

"All three factors (energy, agriculture and manufacturing) that are responsible for the slow growth generally are very important for Oklahoma, and it makes it even worse," he said.

Weaknesses in the agriculture, mining and manufacturing industries, which are predominant in the rural economy, have caused rural employment to grow at a slower rate than urban employment, according to a financial letter issued by the Kansas City bank.

Not only has the imbalance in urban-rural unemployment growth existed in the recession-dominated period of 1980-82, the study said, but urban employment also led the way during 1983-84, a period ofstrong expansion. …