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Oklahoma saw one of biggest unemployment increases over the year

Oklahoma has had one of the largest unemployment rates increases in the country over the past year, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Oklahoma was tied with Pennsylvania for the second-highest unemployment rate increase for the 12 months ending in August. Both states saw a 0.8 point increase in unemployment since August 2015.

Statewide unemployment crept up one-tenth of a percentage point in August to 5.1 percent. The national jobless rate is 4.9 percent.

In August, Oklahoma's seasonally adjusted employment declined by 14,008 persons, a 0.8 percent decline. At the same time, unemployment rose by 704 persons, a 0.8 percent increase. Over the year, seasonally adjusted unemployment grew by 13,404 persons, a 17 percent increase.

While Oklahoma's number of unemployed is still growing, the pace has slowed over the past several months, said Lynn Gray, economist for the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

A thin silver lining may be that the pace at which the number of unemployed is growing has been slowing since March.

Oklahoma also saw modest energy sector job gains in August.

Energy sector jobs are classified as mining and logging jobs on the employment survey.

"Perhaps the most significant portion of this report is that Mining (energy jobs) grew an estimated 200 jobs over the month while at the same time the July estimate was revised upward,” Gray said.

β€œIt is possible that we have found a bottom in employment for this sector if oil prices maintain at least their recent price range.”

In August, seven of Oklahoma's supersectors added jobs. Professional and Business Services saw the largest gain, adding 800 jobs over the month.

Leisure and Hospitality saw the largest job losses over the month, shedding 1,400 jobs. Construction lost 1,100 jobs in August.

Manufacturing saw the largest job declines over the year, shedding 10,600 jobs. The energy sector lost 9,100 jobs over the year.

Leisure and Hospitality added 6,400 jobs over the year and claimed the largest job gains.

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 ›