Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Unemployment Hits 16-Year Low

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Unemployment Hits 16-Year Low

Article excerpt

Oklahoma's unemployment rate in June dropped to its lowest level in 16 years.

The state's unemployment rate for the month was 3.6 percent, down from 4.2 percent a year earlier, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission said Thursday.

The last time Oklahoma's unemployment rate fell below 3.6 percent was September 1981 when it was 3.3 percent." "For the past five to six years, we have had an economy that has continued to grow," said Auther Jordan, director of the agency's Research Division. "Even in periods when it would go down, overall it would continue to grow." But that's not what's been happening in 1997, he said, adding that the statewide employment rate is up and the unemployment rate is down. "Both continue to improve," Jordan said. "The employment levels between the months of May and June are usually a time when the unemployment rate decreases. "For the last 10 years, it went down rather than going up," he continued. "This year, the numbers are up slightly and counties with high unemployment rates are down in comparison to a year ago." The resolution of a labor dispute brought the employment level in manufacturing back to normal in June. Following upward movements in May, most divisions posted small gains this month. Summer breaks in schools lowered employment in government and services, while the usual growth in construction and retail trade fell short of season expectations. For the Oklahoma City metropolitan statistical area, preliminary estimates show that total nonfarm wage and salary employment rose to 502,900 jobs. That represents a 0.3 percent increase over May, a greater gain than would be explained by the end of a strike in manufacturing at the local General Motors plant during the period. If that effect is removed from the jobs estimate, Oklahoma City area employment actually declined by 0. …

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