The Duncan Banner

June 17, 2013

Stephens County unemployment rate dips to 4.1 percent

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Unemployment in Stephens County is sitting at 4.1 percent, which is lower than the state average and the averages of the surrounding states.

“That’s tightened up a bit from the pervious months,” Lyle Roggow, Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation president, said.

In March, the unemployment numbers for January were released and showed unemployment at 4.9 percent in Stephens County with the state holding at 5.1 percent. As of June 1, the April averages were released, revealing Stephens County to be at 4.1 percent for unemployment with the state average moving down 4.9 percent.

Roggow said this is a good sign for the state because it means things are heading in a positive direction. He said things have recovered more quickly in Oklahoma than surrounding states following the 2008 downturn in the economy.

At its highest, the Oklahoma unemployment rate go up to 8.8 percent, Roggow said. He’s glad to see the unemployment rate trending downward.

“For us, for Stephens County, it has remained steady,” he said. “It’s always wonderful. Things really do look good. It means we have some opportunities.”

The labor pool in Stephens County is less than 23,000 with more than 22,000 being employed. This leaves less than 1,000 people who are in the labor pool and unemployed.

Surrounding states have higher unemployment rates than Oklahoma, Roggow said. For instance, Kansas has an unemployment rate of 5.5 percent, Texas has an unemployment rate of 6.4 percent and Arkansas has an unemployment rate of 7.1 percent.

Roggow said the main contributors to Oklahoma’s quicker rebound following the recession are energy and manufacturing companies.

“That’s what pulled us out, the activity in the oil and manufacturing sectors,” Roggow said. “They really have continued to grow. What are we doing to help our manufacturers? To me, that’s key.”