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Oklahoma has lost more jobs in manufacturing than in energy

Oklahoma has lost more jobs in manufacturing than in its struggling oil and gas sector over the past year, but recent surveys show factories expect flat to slightly higher activity over the next few months, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Oklahoma has lost 11,100 manufacturing jobs over the 12-month period ending in July, an 8.1 percent decline.

In comparison, the state lost 10,800 oil and gas jobs over the same period, a 20.3 percent decline.

Oklahoma's manufacturing sector is heavily dependent on metals and machinery manufacturing used in producing parts for oil and gas exploration, said Chad Wilkerson, branch executive, vice president and economist at the Oklahoma City Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Is stability ahead?

The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank's monthly manufacturing survey shows the industry could finally be stabilizing. The most recent survey shows recent, albeit modest, improvement in Oklahoma factories' expectations for future activity.

"It seems to be related to a stabilizing in oil and gas prices, which is also stabilizing metal machinery manufacturing," Wilkerson said. "The two are kind of linked together and as oil has kind of settled into this $45-a-barrel range that seems to be filtering into the manufacturing industry."

The Kansas City Federal Reserve's latest quarterly energy survey indicated the average oil price needed for firms to be profitable was $51 a barrel. Subsequent small increases in drilling rig counts likely has helped reduce pessimism among some metals and machinery manufacturers, Wilkerson said.

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 ›