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Unemployment Rate Drops In March

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma's unemployment rate dropped in March to 4.3%, a decline of one-tenth of 1% from last month and from the same time last year, the state's Employment Security Commission reported Friday.

Much of the decrease resulted from an increase in 3,200 jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry and another 3,000 jobs in the professional and business services sector, said John Carpenter, a spokesman for the commission.

``Between those two industries, they made up almost 50% of the monthly growth,'' Carpenter said.

An increase in the demand for oil and natural gas also has been a driving force behind a 14.3% increase in the number of jobs in the natural resources and mining sector since March 2006. A total of 5,700 jobs have been added to that sector over the last year, the commission reported.

Warmer weather also spurred a growth in the number of construction jobs, as all three sectors of that industry saw growth from both from February to March and over the last year.
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