Tulsa Job Market Suffers With Two Major Layoffs

Friday, August 14th 2009, 4:15 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- It's been a long week in the Tulsa job market. Oklahoma's unemployment rate is just more than 6% which is lower than the national average, but the down economy is still taking a toll on many families.

Several companies announced hundreds of layoffs just over the last few days in Tulsa.

On Wednesday, Blue Cross Blue Shield told 200 employees that their jobs will be phased out over the next six months.

"These individuals who are impacted are colleagues and friends. So it's a challenging time," said Michelle Riddell of Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Most of the jobs are in claims and customer service.

Blue Cross blames a weak economy and looming health care reform as reasons for the cuts.

"This organization has taken great care to try and reduce expenses in every other area except jobs first," Riddell said.

The week didn't get any better.  West Corporation is cutting 250 jobs at its Tulsa call center on South 103rd East Avenue. Those workers, mostly full-time employees, will be out of work by the middle of October.

The company says the poor economy means fewer people spending money, and that led to fewer calls to customer service at the call center.

Employees are being encouraged to apply for other positions with the company nationwide. Some of the employees may be able to apply for customer service rep jobs working from home, according to a West Corporation spokesperson.