Most Oklahoma counties see an increase in jobless rates

The oil and gas slowdown hits Oklahoma’s jobless rates as most counties saw increased numbers of unemployed in December 2019.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission says rates were higher in 53 counties, lower in 13 counties and unchanged in eleven others compared to December 2018.

Latimer County in the southeast had the highest December rate at 7.2% followed by McIntosh County at 6.4%. The lowest rate was 1.6% in Cimarron County in the Panhandle.

Oklahoma City suffered the highest losses in the oil and gas industry. Employment in December 2019 was 19,900, down 700 or 3.4% from November 2019. But the metro suffered a loss of 2,700 workers compared to December 2018, or a 12% decline.

Tulsa’s oil and gas industry fared better with a loss of only 100 jobs from November 2019 to December 2019. With a total employment of 7,100, Tulsa’s decline was only 1.4%. The 7,200 that had been employed in November 2019 was the same figure a year earlier.

Of the state’s major metro areas, Oklahoma County’s December 2019 jobless rate was 2.9% while Tulsa’s was at 3%.

Unemployment in Comanche Country, home to Fort Sill and Lawton was 3.3%.

The jobless rate in Garfield County, home to Enid and Vance Air Force Base was 2%. Sequoyah County and the city of Muskogee reported a jobless rate of 4.3%.