NORMAN — The weekend’s release of a declining national unemployment number brought headlines as some business leaders challenged the numbers. The pre-election drop from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent nationally included a net gain of only 114,000 jobs.
Analysts said it appeared many out-of-work Americans have found part-time jobs and thus counted themselves as employed. Many retailers have begun seasonal hiring in anticipation of holiday spending by consumers.
In Oklahoma, only five of the state’s 77 counties experienced increases in unemployment from July to August, the latest information available. Statewide, the rate was 5.1 percent.
Cleveland County’s unemployment continues to drop. August unemployment was 5,252, or 4.1 percent of the work force. That compares to 4.4 percent in July, 4.6 percent in June and 5.1 percent in August 2011.
The relatively low numbers are not enjoyed statewide.
LeFlore Couty in southeastern Oklahoma had the highest unemployment rate in the state, with 10.7 percent in August. The lowest rate was in Ellis County, with 2.5 percent. Ellis, Dewey and Beaver counties all had unemployment below 2.4 percent for the month.