Seasonal hiring boosts employment in Oklahoma


Friday, November 28th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6



OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Seasonal hiring boosted employment in Oklahoma by 7,400 jobs in October, but the unemployment rate rose to 5.2 percent, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reports.

Even with gains in the service providing industries, there were 7,500 fewer jobs last month than in October 2002, the agency reported.

Figures showed the trade, transportation and utilities sector has risen by 4,100 jobs since September, thanks to gains in retail trade. Job gains in general merchandise stores and gasoline stations helped the retail sector surge, while wholesale trade fell 600 jobs over the month.

Increases also were seen in government employment, with 2,700 more jobs in October than September. Local government job gains of 4,000 were offset by losses in state government (1,100) and federal government (200).

A decline of 4.8 percent was reported in the information sector, even though financial activities gained 1,400 jobs in October. The bright spot in the sector was insurance carriers and related activities, which has grown 10.2 percent since October 2002.

Declines also were noted in professional and business services (1,000) and in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector (400).

In the Oklahoma City metropolitan statistical area, total nonfarm employment declined 2,000 jobs to 541,400 jobs for October. There were 6,300 fewer jobs (1.2 percent) last month compared to October 2002.

Total employment increased 4,500 jobs from September to October but employment decreased by 5,000 jobs from October 2002 to last month.

In Lawton, jobs increased by 400 from September to October but fell 1,100 from October 2002 to last month.

Enid's job picture remained steady from September to last month but declined by 100 between October 2002 and October 2003.

Unemployment rose by 5,500 people from last month's revised 84,500 to end October at 90,000. The jobless rate increased by 13,700 (17.9 percent) from the 76,300 reported in October 2002.

The highest unemployment rates were still east of Interstate 35.

Coal County's 12.8 percent unemployment rate in October was the highest in the state. High jobless rates also were noted in Sequoyah County (11.5 percent), Adair County (9.8 percent), Okfuskee and Okmulgee counties (9.6 percent), Mayes County (9.1 percent) and McCurtain County (9.0 percent).

The lowest rates were found in Roger Mills County (1.7 percent), Dewey County (1.8 percent), Cimarron County (1.9 percent), Texas County (2 percent) and Major County (2.1 percent).

Tulsa County's unemployment rate rose from 5.7 percent in September to 5.9 percent last month.

Oklahoma County's jobless rate rose from 4.7 percent to 5.1 percent, while unemployment rose from 3.5 percent to 3.9 percent in Comanche County.

Garfield County's unemployment rate increased from 3.2 percent in September to 3.6 percent last month.