Jobless rates for most counties in Oklahoma were down in January according to a state agency. But that was January, This is March when the state and the rest of the U.S. are in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic….meaning jobless rates from two months ago are likely to be thrown out the window as the pandemic spreads and oil and gas are pummeled by the oil-flooding efforts of Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Still, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reports January figures were lower than a year ago in 50 counties, higher in 21 counties and unchanged in 6 counties. The usual counties with the highest rates—Latimer, McIntosh, Haskell and McCurtain were the highest again for January. Latimer had the highest unemployment rate at 7.3%.
The lowest counties were in the Panhandle…1.6% for Cimarraon and 1.8% for Beaver County.
Oklahoma City experienced a 25% drop in employment in the oil and gas industry which is figured into the Commission’s Mining and Logging sector. The city went from 21,600 employed in the industry in January 2019 to 16,200 in January 2020…a decline of at least 5,400 workers. The industry lost 500 jobs from December 2019 to January 2020, a decline of 3%.
Tulsa saw an oil and gas drop of 400 jobs from January 2019 to January 2020, a decline of nearly 6%. From December 2019 to January this year, the decline was 100 jobs or 1.5%. As of January 2020, Tulsa reported at least 6,500 employed in the oil and gas industry.