Carter County jobless rate up to 6.8%

Michael D. Smith

The county unemployment rate rose fairly sharply in October and joined a statewide trend of worsening jobless numbers. Carter County saw unemployment jump to 6.8% in October, according to unadjusted figures released by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission last week.

While down from the record 18.6% April unemployment rate, when the full weight of a pandemic was felt by the local labor force, October’s bump is the second such increase this year after a slight increase between June and July. County unemployment fell as low as 5.6% in September and remains twice as high as the 3.4% rate recorded in October 2019.

Every Oklahoma county experienced higher unemployment rates between September and October. Latimer County posted Oklahoma’s highest county unemployment rate in October of 11.2%, while Cimarron County posted the lowest county unemployment rate of 2.0%.

Tillman County was the only Oklahoma county in October to record a lower unemployment rate over the year prior, with a drop from 4.7% in October 2019 to 4% in October 2020.

Oklahoma posted a 6.1% seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October, up from 5.4% the month before, as the U.S. rate declined to 6.9%.

Weekly new and continued unemployment claims statewide fell for a 23rd consecutive week through November, including a more than 50% drop in initial claims for the final full week of November.  

“While it is encouraging to see this significant decrease in our claims numbers over the last week, we continue to carefully monitor the factors that could influence our state’s unemployment rate, including seasonal adjustments to employment and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said OESC Executive Director Shelley Zumwalt in a statement.