The Norman Transcript

May 4, 2013

More jobs push economy

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The job growth numbers coming from the national labor forecast are indicative of what is happening locally.

State and local officials at Thursday’s Norman Economic Development Coalition economic summit said Norman’s economy appears to be growing, albeit not at pre-recession levels.

Officials said Norman’s sub-5-percent unemployment rate is healthy compared to the national rate of 7.5 percent. The government on Friday said U.S. employers added 165,000 jobs in April, more than economists were expecting. It also said more jobs were created in February and March than it had estimated earlier.

Norman homebuilding appears to be on the rebound, although commercial permits were at an all-time high in 2007. Officials said Norman adds about 1,000 jobs per year to its 57,000-strong workforce.

“We will have 20 perent growth over the next 10 years if we stay on the same trajectory,” said NEDC Executive Director Don Wood.

“We’ve not seen the recession effects that have occurred in other parts of the country because of the diversity of our economy.”

Nationally, consumer confidence rose in April. The outlook improved mostly because Americans expect the economy to deliver more jobs and higher pay in the next six months.

The number of Americans applying for unemployment aid fell last week to a seasonally adjusted 324,000 — the lowest number since January 2008.

Unemployment applications reflect the pace of layoffs: A steady drop means companies are shedding fewer workers. Eventually, they’ll need to hire to meet customer demand or to replace workers who quit, according to the Associated Press.