Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Economy Sluggish, Finds Indicators Study

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Economy Sluggish, Finds Indicators Study

Article excerpt

The December/January period was as difficult economically for Oklahoma as it was for the nation, according to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce's Economic Indicators report released Monday.

Increases in state unemployment combined with declines in both retail trade sales and new business incorporations are among the reasons for the state's sluggish business climate in the latter portion of 1987 and for this January.

"These indicators reflect an Oklahoma economy that continues to struggle," said Commerce Secretary Don Paulsen.

"It still seems that most existing firms appear strong enough to ride out the slump while other firms show enough confidence in Oklahoma to announce intentions to develop large operating facilities."

The commerce department compiles the report from information submitted by various entities, such as the University of Oklahoma Center for Economic and Management Research and the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission and shows the latest data available from those entities on employment, construction and other variables.

Oklahoma's January unemployment rate of 7.2 percent was considered a serious setback, according to the report. There were 109,300 people out of work in January, up 17.7 percent from the 92,900 out of work in December.

Still, that figure was 18.7 percent below the 134,500 unemployed for January 1987.

Another area of concern was the 24.3 percent decline in new business incorporations. For January, there were a total of 489 business startups, down from 646 in December. That figure was also a decline of 26.7 percent from the 667 new business incorporations during the same period a year ago.

However, the number of business start-ups as of the fourth quarter of 1987 totaled 9,174, an increase of 4.9 percent over the 8,747 recorded for the same period in 1987.

The report also showed that announced investment of new and expanding industries totaled $306. …

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