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Oklahoma jobless rate inches up

Oklahoma has lost 19,200 energy sector jobs since November 2014, a 30 percent decline, according to numbers released Friday by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

The state shed another 400 energy sector jobs in May.  

There is also some evidence that longer-term unemployment in the state is growing, said Lynn Gray, chief economist for the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

The average duration of unemployment was 25.1 weeks in April, and 25.9 weeks in May, Gray said in an email.

Oklahoma's unemployment rate crept up two-tenths of a percentage point in May to 4.7 percent, according to preliminary numbers released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department. 

Oklahoma's jobless rate was 4.4 percent in May 2015. 

South Dakota had the lowest jobless rate in the nation in May at 2.5 percent. Alaska had the highest unemployment rate at 6.7 percent.

The state saw the number of jobs decline for the third consecutive month in May, losing a net 700 jobs, according to establishment surveys. Over the year ending in May, Oklahoma lost a net 2,800 jobs as the state continues to feel the effects of low oil and natural gas prices.

Construction added 1,800 jobs, with most of the increase coming from specialty trade contractors.

The health care and social assistance sector had a large gain of 3,500 jobs, concentrated in ambulatory health care services and, to a lesser extent, nursing and residential care facilities.

Manufacturing shed 2,000 jobs in May, and has lost 16,400 jobs since its recent peak in December 2014, an 11.5 percent decline.

Professional and business services declined 2,300 jobs for the month while accommodation and food services gave back some of its recent gains with a job loss of 300.

The national jobless rate declined by three-tenths of a percentage point from April to 4.7 percent, and was 0.8 point lower than in May 2015.

Brianna Bailey

Brianna Bailey joined The Oklahoman in January 2013 as a business writer. During her time at The Oklahoman, she has walked across Oklahoma City twice, once north-to-south down Western Avenue, and once east-to-west, tracing the old U.S. Route 66.... Read more ›