By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The number of out of work Americans drawing long term benefits has hit a 25 year high. The news comes as more companies across the country, including some of Oklahoma's largest employers, continue to lay off workers.
Cox Communications announced on Thursday that they're cutting hundreds of jobs. But, some say the job market in Oklahoma, and Tulsa, in particular, is doing better than the rest of the country.
In August, it was SemGroup with more than 100 workers laid off. Earlier this month, the trend spread to Tahlequah where a cabinet maker laid off 50 employees. Gatorade in Pryor eliminated dozens of jobs. Its neighbor in the Mid-America Industrial Park, Labinal, decided to close its doors and that sent about 500 workers into the job market. Just last week, Dollar Thrifty announced it was cutting hundreds of jobs.
For the growing number of those looking for work, the future seems bleak.
"You already know it's pretty stressful. Life ain't great at home right now. But, we're making it. We'll make it. Stay in the faith," said job seeker Richard Floyd.
While it is tough on individuals, employment experts say as a whole, Tulsa's job market is better off than the rest of the country.
Barbara Clyma says the state's unemployment rate is about half the national rate. And, there are some jobs out there.
"The aerospace, health, those are the ones that it seems like we just can't get enough people for. So, we still have staff shortages," said Barbara Clyma with Workforce Oklahoma.
Workforce Oklahoma is trying to help match job seekers with job opportunities through computer programs.
Floyd says the agency has given him a little help and hope.
"Oh they absolutely helped me. I'm not really good with computers. Like I said, I've been a hard laborer all my life and I'm 40 years old and computers aren't my bag. So, they helped me out a lot," said Richard Floyd.
"If they need our help, we're here to help them," said Barbara Clyma with Workforce Oklahoma.
The latest jobless numbers are from September which was before many of the recent layoffs. October's report comes out on Friday.