The latest figures from the State of Oklahoma indicate the latest jobless rates, those for the month of July, saw increases compared to a year ago. And the state’s energy industry played a role in the hikes.
Unemployment rates were higher than a year earlier in 71 of 77 counties, lower in four counties and unchanged in two counties, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
Figures for the state’s three largest metro areas, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Lawton reflected a drop in energy employment, jobs classified under the Mining, Logging and Construction sector at the Security Commission.
Oklahoma City’s energy jobs fell by nearly 22% from July 2015 to July of this year. The city’s energy employment went from 19,000 in July 2015 to 14,900 in July 2016. While the year-to-year loss was 4,100 jobs, the city also recorded a loss of 200 jobs from June to July of this year.
Tulsa’s energy employment fell by more than 11% over the past year, going from 7,000 in July 2015 to 6,200 in July 2016. That’s a drop of 800 jobs or 11.4%.
Lawton’s energy sector recorded a drop of 15 percent from July to July, or 300 jobs. In July 2015, the Lawton metro had 2,000 employees in the energy sector but the number fell to 1,700 by July of this year.
Hit with job losses in the oil and gas sector, Stephens County, where Duncan is the county seat posted the highest unemployment rate in the state at 10.9 percent for July. Halliburton remains a significant factor in Duncan’s economy. After all, the company was founded in Duncan before its headquarters were moved to Houston.