Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Jobs Growth among Nation's Best

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Jobs Growth among Nation's Best

Article excerpt

Oklahoma has weathered a short-lived national recession and emerged with stronger employment growth than most of the nation, including its neighboring states, according to Oklahoma State University Professor of Economics Dan Rickman.

"Cushioned by continued growth in the energy sector, a vibrant construction sector and less sensitivity in manufacturing, the state continued to fare better than the national economy," said Rickman.

The OSU econometric model shows that while employment in the state has experienced slower growth, it continued to post increases throughout the recent recessionary period, which national economists say likely ended the first quarter of this year.

"While the state's employment growth rate has dropped a percentage point since 2000, our January to April 2002 employment figures are still 0.79 percent higher than the same period in 2001," Rickman said.

That gives Oklahoma the fastest employment growth rate among any of the surrounding states, edging out its closest rival New Mexico, which posted a 0.77 percent increase. Missouri was hardest hit among neighboring states during the same period with a 1.89 percent decline in employment.

Comparing this year's first quarter data to 2001 first quarter figures, Oklahoma's strongest area of employment growth was construction, which was up 3.9 percent. Other areas showing growth were finance, insurance and real estate, up 2.3 percent; mining, up 2 percent; state government, up 2.5 percent; local government, up 2.9 percent; and services, up 1.4 percent.

Employment declines were registered in manufacturing, down 3.1 percent; transportation, communications and public utilities, down 2.8 percent; wholesale trade, down 0.1 percent; and federal government, down 0.2 percent.

Based on data through the first quarter of this year, Rickman is forecasting that Oklahoma's employment rate will finish the year averaging 0. …

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