Jobless rate is steady in Oklahoma but oil and gas employment is dropping

As Oklahoma’s number of oil and gas rigs is sliding in the quest for new energy, the state’s employment figures showed dropping numbers of workers in the oil patch. Employment grew in other sectors to make up the difference and leave the state’s jobless rate unchanged in August.

The latest figures from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission show the state’s August unemployment rate was unchanged from July at 3.2%. Nationally, the U.S. unemployment rate was 3.7%.

Out of Oklahoma’s labor force of 1,845,434 the number employed in August was 1,786,480 and the number of those without employment totaled 58,954.

Oklahoma’s 3.2% August rate was the same as in July, June and May and compared to 3.3% in March and April 2019. But it was up slightly from the 3.1% in August 2018.

While the state’s jobless rate remained the same for August, the number of Oklahomans who joined the ranks of the employed grew by 6,672 persons or 0.4%. The number of jobless in the same month grew by 432 persons or 0.7% according to the Employment Security Commission.

Over the past year, the jobless numbers increased 1,304 or 2.3%. In Oklahoma’s Mining and Logging sector where oil and gas employment is reported, there were 52,100 employed in August 2019 compared to 53,200 in July 2019 and 53,800 in August of 2018.

From July to August of this year, the sector reported an increase in employment of 1,100 workers or 2.1% But from August 2018 to August 2019, the number of oil and gas workers dropped by 1,700 or 3.2%

The question remains, how will the oil and gas employment be affected in September as the number of idle oil and gas rigs grows in Oklahoma.