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Okfuskee County Jobless Rate at 4.1 Percent in December 2023, Up from December 2022’s 3.7 Percent 

Okfuskee County Jobless Rate at 4.1 Percent in December 2023, Up from December 2022’s 3.7 Percent 

Eastern Oklahoma Continues to Register the Highest Jobless Numbers in the State

By Alanna Bradley

ONL Reporter

The jobless rate for Okfuskee County in December 2023 was 4.1 percent, according to the latest report released by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. This number rose from 3.7 percent reported in December 2022. Okfuskee County’s December 2023 rate dropped 0.2 percent from November at 4.3 percent. October 2023 was also 4.3 percent. This percentage range puts Okfuskee County in a category coded by the state as “critical.” 

On a map released by the state, the counties with the highest unemployment rates are color-coded dark blue. Mid-range/moderately critical rates are color-coded light blue. The lowest unemployment rates are color-coded yellow. 

The ranges on this map can change monthly as they are updated by adjustors with the state. For December, the ranges are coded as follows: yellow (“desirable/lowest” – 1.6 to 2.8 percent), light blue (“moderately critical/middle” – 2.9 to 3.9 percent), and dark blue (“critical/highest” – 4.0 to 5.9 percent).

For December 2023, at 4.1 percent, Okfuskee County was coded dark blue. Okfuskee County was also coded dark blue in November, October, and September. In July, Okfuskee County made it into the light blue range. Earlier in the year, Okfuskee County was rated consistently dark blue. 

In the latest report, Okfuskee County ranked 13th highest in the state for its jobless rate. Okfuskee County ranked 64 out of 77 counties making it one of the highest unemployment rates in the state. Other nearby counties contributed to the highest unemployment rates in the state. Those counties are Pittsburg (ranked 73), Hughes (ranked 72), Seminole (ranked 76), and McIntosh (ranked 77). In surrounding counties, Okmulgee (ranked 63), Pottawattamie (ranked 51), Creek (ranked 44), and Lincoln (ranked 29) all registered lower unemployment rates compared to Okfuskee County. These four counties were still in dark blue (Okmulgee) and light blue (Pottawattamie, Creek, and Lincoln) as they met the criteria for “moderately critical” and “critical” ranges as designated by the state.

The surrounding counties reported as follows: Lincoln 3.0 percent (light blue), Creek 3.4 percent (light blue), Pottawatomie 3.6 percent (light blue), and Okmulgee 4.0 percent (dark blue). 

As it has been in each month of 2023, the highest unemployment rates are in counties on the eastern side of Oklahoma.  

McIntosh County, which touches Okfuskee County and is directly southeast of it, reported the highest rate in the state in December at 5.9 percent. Seminole County was the second highest at 5.5 percent. For December, Noble (2.3), Payne (2.6), Cleveland (2.7), McLain (2.8), Love (2.1), and Nowata (2.7) counties registered in yellow, representing the eastern side of the state. That is six counties that either are or stretch into the eastern side of the state whose numbers qualified them to be coded yellow. Other counties in eastern Oklahoma registered in the “moderately critical” and “critical” categories of light blue and dark blue. 

On the western side of the state for December, zero counties were marked in the “critical” range of dark blue. Eleven counties on the western side of the state reached the “moderately critical” range of light blue. Those counties were Beckham, Greer, Washita, Kiowa, Tillman, Caddo, Comanche, Cotton, Stephens, Jefferson, and Garfield counties. Nineteen counties on the western side of the state, extending into the Panhandle, were in the yellow range. 

In December 2023, similar to previous months of the year, a cluster of counties in the eastern side of the state, starting at Seminole, Okfuskee, and Okmulgee Counties and extending south to McCurtain (which borders Arkansas), features 14 counties in dark blue. Together, with Delaware County in the northeastern section of the state at 4.1 percent, these counties make up the highest unemployment rates for December 2023. 

Reports have long indicated that eastern Oklahoma has faced the highest unemployment rates in the state. Dating back to at least July 2011, the Associated Press reported that counties like Latimer and McIntosh Counties registered the highest unemployment rates in the state. Other counties in the east, such as Okmulgee and LeFlore, also registered high jobless rate percentages at that time. Counties on the western side of the state, even at that time, recorded the lowest jobless rates in the state. 

By the Numbers:

Okfuskee County
December 2023: 4.1 percent

November 2023: 4.3 percent

October 2023: 4.3 percent 

December 2022: 3.7 percent

Rank: 64

Okmulgee County

December 2023: 4.0 percent 

November 2023: 4.1 percent

October 2023: 4.3 percent

December 2022: 3.8 percent

Rank: 63

Creek County

December 2023: 3.4 percent 

November 2023: 3.5 percent 

October 2023: 3.7 percent 

December 2022: 2.9 percent

Rank: 44

Lincoln County

December 2023: 3.0 percent

November 2023: 3.2 percent

October 2023: 3.4 percent 

December 2022: 2.7 percent 

Rank: 29

Pottawatomie County

December 2023: 3.6 percent

November 2023: 3.7 percent

October 2023: 3.9 percent 

December 2022: 3.0 percent

Rank: 51

Seminole County

December 2023: 5.5 percent

November 2023: 5.4 percent

October 2023: 5.2 percent

December 2022: 3.6 percent 

Rank: 76

Hughes County

December 2023: 4.6 percent 

November 2023: 4.6 percent

October 2023: 4.5 percent 

December 2022: 3.3 percent

Rank: 72

McIntosh County

December 2023: 5.9 percent 

November 2023: 5.6 percent

October 2023: 5.8 percent 

December 2022: 4.6 percent 

Rank: 77

Pittsburg County

December 2023: 4.8 percent 

November 2023: 4.6 percent 

October 2023: 4.6 percent

December 2022: 3.8 percent 

Rank: 73

According to the report, in December, McIntosh County posted Oklahoma’s highest county unemployment rate of 5.9 percent. Seminole County reported the second-highest rate for the month, followed by Haskell and Latimer Counties. Woods County reported the lowest county unemployment rate of 1.6 percent in December. Unemployment rates in December were higher than a year earlier in 71 counties, lower in five counties, and unchanged in one county.
Overall, according to reports released by the state, for December 2023, Oklahoma’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate moved up 0.1 percentage point to 3.4 percent in December. The U.S. unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent in December. Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 0.2 percentage point higher than December 2022.

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