OKC has best rate in nation for jobs

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

by Brianna Bailey

The Oklahoman

For the eighth consecutive month, Oklahoma City in November recorded the lowest jobless rate among the nation’s 49 largest cities.   

Oklahoma City’s unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent in November from 4.9 percent in October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.   

Oklahoma City has topped the list for lowest unemployment out of the country’s large metropolitan areas for 19 of the past 23 months, said Eric Long, research economist for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.  

“Whenever you look at a trend over the past two years of having consistently low unemployment rates, it is very favorable to our economy” Long said.   

Most of the metro area’s job growth over the past year has come from small employment gains from existing businesses instead of big job announcements or relocating companies, he said.  

“We don’t see rapid increases or significant declines,” Long said. “During this recovery period, it is something that has served our metro area in a positive way.”

Progress statewide
The Oklahoma City metro area added 2,100 nonfarming jobs in November, according to seasonally unadjusted numbers released Tuesday by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.   

The numbers are not seasonally adjusted but still show strong job growth, Lynn Gray said, chief economist for the Employment Security Commission.   

“This is still a good month in terms of job creation in Oklahoma City,” Gray said.   

Oklahoma saw its unemployment numbers decline across all 77 counties in November, according to state data.   

After Oklahoma City, the next-lowest rate among metro areas of 1 million people or larger was New Orleans, with a jobless rate of 4.7 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers.   

The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., metro area had the highest unemployment rate among large cities, at 11.3 percent.   

Nation sees progress
Unemployment rates were lower in November than a year earlier in 322 of the 372 metropolitan areas, the bureau said.   

Four areas recorded jobless rates of at least 15 percent, while 52 areas registered rates of less than 5 percent.