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August 16, 2013

County’s unemployment rate rose slightly in June

Ada —

Pontotoc County reported that 5.3 percent of its residents were out of work in June, reflecting a statewide trend.

Ada’s labor force continued a six-month decline and stood at 20,350 workers in June, down 1,400 workers from the county’s peak in September 2012.

“Twelve months ago, we were at an all-time high,” said Mike Southard, president and CEO of the Ada Jobs Foundation, “and we seem to have reached the top of that bell curve.”

The county’s unemployment rate in June was 0.6 percent higher than it was in May when it stood at 4.7 percent. The labor force shrank by about 500 workers.

Southard said several area manufacturers told him they were having problems finding qualified employees for various reasons.

“Part of our problem, in talking with manufacturers, is that they have unfilled positions, which boggles my mind,” he said.

Southard said he was surprised that the county’s unemployment rate ticked up in June because he was expecting a spike in July. He said he will continue to monitor those numbers because they affect everything from sales tax collections to housing.

Nearly all Oklahoma counties saw their unemployment rates increase in June, the last month for which figures were available. Latimer County posted the state’ s highest non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate at 9.2 percent while McCurtain County reported an 8.9 percent unemployment rate.

Hughes County rounded out the top three with an 8.0 percent jobless rate.

Le Flore and Sequoyah counties were the only two that did not see their jobless rates increase, but they ranked among the state’s highest at 7.9 percent each.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Roger Mills at 2.6 percent, Ellis at 2.7 percent and Beckham at 3 percent.

Oklahoma’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 5.0 percent to 5.2 percent as the state shed 2,500 jobs in June, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. Two sectors — government and mining and logging — accounted for much of the job loss for the month.

Three sectors — trade, transportation and utilities — added jobs, providing the biggest gain for the month.

The leisure and hospitality sector reported the month’s biggest growth from a year ago, at 8,300 jobs.

Oklahoma’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June was the same as in June 2012, according to the OESC.

Nationally, the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 percent over the month.

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