Tulsa jobless rate dips to 5.3 percent
BY LAURIE WINSLOW World Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
10/31/12 at 4:13 AM
Metro Tulsa's unemployment rate moved lower again in September, dipping to 5.3 percent, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
September's rate was down from 5.4 percent in August. The metro area had a 6.8 percent jobless rate in September 2011.
Economists pointed to several positive trends in the monthly data, including increases in the local labor force, total employment and nonfarm employment.
Lynn Gray, the OESC's chief economist, summed it up by saying, "I think it's a good month."
Ditto for Bob Ball, economic research manager for the Tulsa Metro Chamber, who noted that the unemployment rate dropped for "all the right reasons."
A household survey from which the jobless rate is derived shows that the labor force grew by more than 6,910 from August to September while the number of unemployed people dipped slightly. Total employment, which includes self-employed people and farm jobs, rose by more than 7,000.
A larger survey of business establishments shows that metro nonfarm employment expanded by 4,900 jobs over the month, to a total of 420,200. That figure represents 9,600 more jobs than in September 2011, or a 2.3 percent gain.
The Tulsa area "is still clicking along," Ball said.
The employment services sector slowed somewhat, posting a 0.8 percent gain from a year earlier, but it is still positive and points to many permanent jobs being put in place, he said.
"It looks as if the metro still has growth to go, even in the midst of an nationwide economy that is not as good," Ball said.
Oklahoma, like much of the country's midsection, is doing well, fueled by oil and gas and a strong demand for manufactured products, he added.
The goods-producing industries, which include mining, logging, construction and manufacturing, has grown by 6,000 jobs, or 8.0 percent, from a year ago, the reports said.
Manufacturing has remained elevated, showing job growth of 9 percent to 11 percent on a year-over-year basis for six to eight months.
"It just persists," Ball said.
Growth in government jobs is typical in September, Gray said, referring to 5,200 jobs added between August and September.
"The industries with the largest movement in the Tulsa MSA are clearly state and local government, and as you probably have guessed this is a seasonal issue - school and university employment returning for the new academic year," Gray said.
Oklahoma City's unemployment rate of 4.6 percent in September was the lowest among the nation's 49 metros with a population of 1 million or more, according to the BLS.
Nationwide, Yuma, Ariz., recorded the highest unemployment rate at 29.7 percent while Bismarck, N.D., again registered the lowest at 2.2 percent.
Job gains and losses among Tulsa metro's 11 super sectors over the month in September
(Data based on nonseasonally adjusted data from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission)
Mining and logging -100
Trade, transportation and utilities +200
Financial activities unchanged
Professional and business services -900
Educational and health services +600
Leisure and hospitality -600
Other services -200
Performance of metro's super sectors over the year
Mining and logging +200
Trade, transportation and utilities +1,700
Financial activities -100
Professional and business services +100
Educational and health services +1,000
Leisure and hospitality +300
Other services -300
Original Print Headline: Tulsa jobless rate improves
Laurie Winslow 918-581-8466