Metropolitan area unemployment rates fell between May and June, latest data shows
The latest unemployment data for Oklahoma’s four biggest metropolitan areas tells a glass-half-full kind of story.
Rates in the Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Enid and Lawton areas improved by 40% or more, comparing June’s data to May’s.
However, unemployment percentages for each of those areas in June was about double what it was during the same month in 2019.
The metropolitan statistical area data follows the same trend as statewide unemployment.
Oklahoma’s unemployment rate in June was 6.6%, data provided through the St. Louis Branch of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank shows. The previous month, it was 12.6% and in June 2019, it was 3.2%
How the areas fared
The Oklahoma City area’s unemployment rate for June 2020 was 7%, according to the bank’s calculations.
Data provided by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) on Thursday showed substantial employment drops in the mining and logging (energy) industry, the information industry and the leisure and hospitality industry.
The area’s unemployment rate in May was 12.9%, after peaking in April at 14.8%. Its unemployment rate in June 2019 was 3.3%.
The Tulsa area’s unemployment rate for June 2020 was 7.3%, bank calculations show.
OESC data showed substantial employment drops in the energy, construction, manufacturing, professional/business services, education and health services and leisure and hospitality industries.
The area’s unemployment rate in May was 12.9%, after peaking in April at 15.1%. It’s unemployment rate in June 2019 was 3.4%
The Enid area’s unemployment rate for June 2020 was 6.2%, bank data shows. In May, it was 10.6% after peaking the previous month at 11.4%. Its unemployment rate in June 2019 was 3.2%.
The Lawton area’s unemployment rate for June 2020 was 7%, bank calculations show.
OESC data showed substantial employment drops in the professional/business services and education and health services industries.
The area’s unemployment rate in May was 15.6%, after peaking in April at 19.1%. Its unemployment rate in June 2019 was 3.9%.
Robert Dauffenbach, director of the Center for Economic and Management Research at the University of Oklahoma's Price College of Business, said Thursday he was encouraged by unemployment rate improvements observed across Oklahoma and its key metropolitan areas between May and June.
However, Dauffenbach reports actual unemployment percentages in June are greater than what the government data shows because they don't account for people who have decided to drop out of the civilian labor force by not actively seeking a job.
Taking that into consideration, Dauffenbach estimates that Oklahoma’s June 2020 unemployment rate was 11%.
He estimated June 2020 unemployment rates for Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Enid and Lawton at 9.2%, 14%, 11.8% and 11.4%, respectively.
“When people can’t find jobs, they drop out of the labor force,” Dauffenbach said. “But you have to be looking for a job to be counted as unemployed.”
That aside, Dauffenbach said far fewer Oklahomans are represented as being unemployed in June, compared to May.
“There is reason to be encouraged by that. While what we are looking at as far as the government’s numbers is double what it was a year ago, that’s far better than seeing numbers that are three or four times as bad.”