The Oklahoma job market and economy successfully survived the recession due to the state's steady government employment, its oil and gas industry, and the absence of real estate excesses that other areas of the country experienced. Thanks to continued expansion in the energy business, the state economy is expected to strengthen, creating good prospects for the Sooner State's 1.8 million workers.
Oklahoma Job Opportunities
Oklahoma is the third-largest gas-producing state and fifth-largest oil producer in the nation. Besides energy, Oklahoma's leading industries include machinery and metal products. Its biggest livestock and agricultural products are cattle, wheat, cotton, dairy products, hay and peanuts.
The government sector accounts for 21 percent of employment in Oklahoma. Other critical industries include trade, transportation and utilities and education/health services. The strongest percentage growth has been reported in manufacturing, while many of the industries that account for smaller shares of Oklahoma employment, including financial activities, construction, other services and information services, have seen declining employment.
Oklahoma Employment Trends
Oklahoma's job metrics have been mostly positive for the past few years. The state's unemployment rate, which peaked at only 7.2 percent during the recession, was down to 4.7 percent by June 2012. Oklahoma payrolls declined for only 18 months during the recession and have been increasingly positive since mid-2010. Online recruiting has been strong; Oklahoma is one of the few states where online job opportunities are above prerecession levels.
Moody's Analytics forecasts a 1.3 percent growth in Oklahoma jobs between Q2 2012 and Q2 2013, the same growth rate expected in the US job supply.