Thursday morning, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission released its statistics for November 2018, and things are looking good for Oklahoma. In fact, for November, unemployment rates in all 77 counties were lower than they were just one year prior.
According to Lynn Gray, economic research and analysis director with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, this primarily has to do with the state coming out of the “recession” in 2015 and 2016.
“In 2015 and 2016, we had a recession in Oklahoma,” Gray said. “It’s not an official designation because there’s not a committee that makes it official, but we certainly had one. During that timeframe we lost a third of our oil and gas jobs and that affected us greatly.”
He said that employment growth has rebounded  and that currently the state is experiencing employment growth at a rate of about 1.7 percent per month.
Gray said there are three main reasons that a person might be unemployed. For the month of November, less people fell into all three categories. He said the first category includes people that have lost their job.
“We’re seeing a decline in the number of people who have lost their job,” Gray said. “Both the survey data that forms the unemployment statistics and our administrative data on unemployment insurance claims are pointing downward.”
The second unemployment category includes those that have left their job voluntarily without having another job lined up. This category also contains fewer people, though according to Gray more people are currently quitting their jobs.
“They’re quitting their job on Friday and have a new job lined up for Monday,” Gray said. “They’re never unemployed.”
The final unemployment category consists of new entrants to the job market, and Gray said there are currently fewer people who fall into this category as well.
Moving closer to home, the data falls in line with the state trend. In Carter County, November had 670 people looking for work from a total labor force of 22,059, making the unemployment rate three percent.
Love County had 108 looking for work out of a total workforce of 6,507, or an unemployment rate of 1.7 percent. Murray County had 155 unemployed out of a total workforce of 6,523, or an unemployment rate of 2.4 percent.
Mita Bates, president and CEO of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce and the Ardmore Development Authority, said that a number of factors contribute to the low unemployment rate but that right now is a great time to find work.
“If you’re looking for a job, there are employment options available,” Bates said.