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January 3, 2014

Unemployment rate results slightly higher

DUNCAN — The most current number for Stephens County reflected a higher unemployment rate than in recent months.

The October number showed an unemployment rate of 5.4 percent. This means 1,253 people are unemployed in the county and 21,913 people are employed in the community. The workforce in the community is 23,166 people.

“We’ve stayed pretty steady,” Lyle Roggow, Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation president, said. “Our economy has stayed pretty steady.”

At the same time last year, Stephens County was at 5 percent. The most recent number released for the State of Oklahoma was November’s unemployment rate of 5.4 percent.

Roggow said when the November number is released for Stephens County, it could reflect a different percentage than the October number.

He said he anticipates the November numbers will be released soon, although he isn’t sure when. He said the unemployment rate in the county may be a bit higher than it’s been but he said the numbers are still positive.

He said the goal of DAEDF is to maintain the low unemployment rate, while continuing to bring in more businesses and companies to provide more jobs for Duncan and Stephens County.

“We’re trying to keep everything close to 5 percent,” Roggow said.

Maintaining the work force depends on the jobs available and the training provided in the community. He said Duncan Public Schools’ pilot program Career Pathways is just one example of how training is occurring with the younger generation.

He said the machine shops in the county have remained busy, which is a tribute to the consistently low unemployment rate for Stephens County. He said things are continuing on a positive trend.

“I think we’ve been fortunate,” Roggow said. “We’re staying a little bit ahead of what’s coming.”

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