Unemployment rates across the region continue to show strong shifts, a report from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission shows, with both Washington County and Nowata County gaining jobs in August. However, Osage County showed an increase in unemployment.
Wednesday, the commission released August 2016 unemployment figures for all 77 counties in Oklahoma. Washington County’s unemployment rate fell to 5.0 percent in August 2016 compared to 5.3 percent in July 2016; however, one year ago, in July 2015, Washington County’s unemployment was 4.1 percent, an overall increase of almost a percentage point in 2016.
Washington County gained 91 jobs in a one-month time frame between July and August 2016, with 1,198 residents saying they are unemployed, the OESC report said.
Nowata County’s August jobless rate showed improvement to 6.4 percent, with 304 people unemployed. The report shows Nowata County’s unemployment rate in July 2016 was 6.8 percent. Between July and August 2016, Nowata County’s unemployment fell 0.4 percent, the OESC said. Last year, Nowata County had a 5.4 percent unemployment rate in August.
The OESC combines both Washington and Nowata counties to define the Bartlesville Local Labor Market. According to the Oklahoma Employment Report, the Bartlesville LLM has a total of 1,502 people seeking jobs in August 2016 — a rate of 5.2 percent. In August 2015, the Bartlesville LLM unemployment rate was 1.1 percent lower, at 4.3 percent.
Employment data for Osage County shows a different story, as more people lost jobs in the county compared to the previous month. The unemployment rate for Osage County rose to 6.1 percent for August 2016, the OESC report showed. In July, the rate was 5.9 percent.
Overall, Osage County’s unemployment rate is up by 1 percent since August 2015.
Across Oklahoma, a total of 92,200 people were unemployed in August 2016, for an unemployment rate of 5.1 percent. For the second month in a row, this is higher than the national unemployment rate of 4.9 percent.
In August, Stephens County posted Oklahoma’s highest county unemployment rate of 10.3 percent. McIntosh County had the second highest rate for the month, while Latimer County reported the state’s third highest rate. Cimarron County claimed the lowest county unemployment rate of 2.7 percent.
Unemployment rates were higher than a year earlier in 73 of 77 counties, lower in two counties, and unchanged in two counties.