County jobless rate up nearly 60 percent in May
By Ken Childers
The jobless rate in Okfuskee County increased by nearly 60 percent in May, marking the second consecutive month of double-digit rates.
According to a report released last week by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, the county posted an unemployment rate of 10.8 percent in May, up 59.3 percent over May 2019 when the rate was 4.4 percent. In April, the rate climbed from 3.7 percent to 12.9 percent, an increase of 71 percent over the previous year.
The OESC report shows the county had an available workforce of 4,361 in May, but only 3,889 of those available were counted as employed. In April, the workforce totaled 4,285 and 3,740 were reported as employed.
Unemployment rates were higher than a year ago for all 77 Oklahoma counties in May. In Creek County, the rate climbed from 3.6 percent in May 2019 to 12.2 percent. Hughes County’s rate jumped from 4.7 percent to 12.3 percent while Lincoln County saw its rate increase from 3.4 to 10.7 percent. In Pottawatomie County, the rate rocketed from 3.6 percent to 11.7 percent and in Seminole County the rate increased from 4.4 percent to 12.3 percent.
In May, Tillman County posted Oklahoma’s highest county unemployment rate of 18.8 percent. Johnston County had the second-highest rate for the month, followed by Cotton County. Cimarron County had the lowest county unemployment rate of 3.0 percent in May.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics report
Unemployment rates were higher in May than a year earlier in all 389 metropolitan areas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week. A total of 109 areas had jobless rates of less than 10 percent and 16 areas had rates of at least 20 percent.
Nonfarm payroll employment decreased over the year in 357 metropolitan areas and was essentially unchanged in 32 areas. The national unemployment rate in May was 13.0 percent, not seasonally adjusted, up from 3.4 percent a year earlier.
Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii had the highest unemployment rate in May, posting a rate of 33.4 percent, followed by Atlantic City-Hammonton, New Jersey, which had a rate of 32.4 percent. Logan, Utah-Idaho had the lowest unemployment rate, coming in at 4.8 percent.
The next lowest rates were in Lincoln, Nebraska and Idaho Falls, Idaho, which posted rates of five percent and 5.5 percent, respectively.
A total of 245 areas had May jobless rates below the U.S. rate of 13.0 percent, 142 areas had rates above it, and two areas had rates equal to that of the nation.