Local sectors hiring despite rise in unemployment claims

Posted at 6:32 PM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 19:36:03-04

TULSA, Okla. — As more Oklahomans look for jobs to rebound from the pandemic, several industries in Green Country are looking for workers.

On Thursday, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission announced unemployment is on the rise.

“We are [a] heavy oil industry and certainly have oil and gas. So there were a number of those that were certainly impacted, probably close to a thousand in that industry alone on top of all of the other pieces,” said Meggie Froman-Knight, executive director of the Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority.

In 2020, unemployment rates soared due to the pandemic. A spokesman with the State Employment Security Commission said those numbers are still on the rise. He said the increase is due to many applicants filing for unemployment a second time.

As of February of this year, the unemployment rate for Tulsa was 5.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The unemployment I’ve read is more in the service industry, for restaurants and some of those positions and I’m sure they’re still in the recovery phase,” said Terry Ball, director of streets and stormwater for the City of Tulsa.

As unemployment numbers are rising, so are the number of job opportunities. In Claremore, the industrial and economic development authority industries hosting an open-house style hiring event Friday.

“Among the last week, we saw about 137 new jobs open in manufacturing in Claremore alone, as you can imagine on top of that there’s retail and healthcare, and just a number of people looking for employees,” Froman-Knight said.

The job opportunities don’t end there. The City of Tulsa has more than 100 job openings posted online.

“There are lots of opportunities, especially with the city of Tulsa," Ball said. "We have such a wide variety of jobs that are available right now, anywhere from general labor to mechanics, electricians, plumber, engineering. There’s a little bit of everything."

READ MORE: City of Tulsa looking to fill labor, trade openings

Froman-Knight said many people who are experiencing unemployment are trying to figure out how to enter the workforce. She said the sooner they can get them back to work, the better for the local economy.

“We have companies that are limited as to how many sales and orders they can take in because they can’t get their product out," Froman-Knight said. "So, certainly the more employees they have, the more they’re able to get their work out that helps our sales tax, then people have additional income that they can go enjoy our fun restaurants and bike trails and other things where they get back money."

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