The Oklahoma unemployment rate continues to show improvement with another decrease in May to 3.2% from 3.3% the previous three months. The national rate is currently 3.6%.

The figures released late last week show 746 fewer unemployed Oklahomans in May compared to April. There were 59,000 people reported as unemployed in May compared to 59,746 in April. The news is even better in comparison to the state figures from a year ago when there were 63,879 reported as unemployed. That is an improvement of 4,879 people or an 8% improvement.

The current labor force is smaller than it was a year ago at 1,828,690 and the labor force has grown since April by 215 people.

The number of employed Oklahomans jumped in May by 961 people to a total of 1,769,690 compared to April with 1,768,729. Just as the labor force numbers are smaller than a year ago, those employed in the state have dropped from 2018 by 11,798 jobs when the state showed 1,781,488 people working in Oklahoma.

Nationally, the Department of Labor is reporting that the current labor force is at 162.6 million people and employment force is at 156.8 million, which left 5.9 million unemployed in comparison to the national rate of 3.6.

The non-farm jobs in Oklahoma decreased overall by 1,700 jobs in May while that figure grew nationally by 75,000 jobs. Compared to a year ago, the state has gained almost 10,000 non-farm jobs in a 12-month period.

In a breakdown by category, the government employment category gained 900 jobs in May, while the leisure and hospitality industry showed a decrease of 1,800 jobs going into the summer season. The manufacturing sector shows a 12-month loss of over 2,000 jobs since May 2018. Construction and transportation and utilities, with 5,100 and 5,200 new jobs, led the way the last 12-months for new job creation.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission has also approved several counties for unemployment assistance if they were unable to work because of the flooding in May. Logan, Kingfisher, Noble and Payne Counties are the most local ones affected by this. The application deadline for Logan County is July 10; July 15 for Payne County; July 18 for Noble County; July 22 for Kingfisher County. 

Residents of other counties need to check with Oklahoma Employment Security Commission on deadlines, as the dates vary by the area the disasters were declared. For more information, visit their website at: https://www.ok.gov/oesc/Claimants/ or call 1-800-555-1554.

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