Last year was good in Garfield County and Enid from an employment standpoint.
Enid’s biggest issue is not a large number of unemployed, but a shortage of workers to fill available jobs, said local officials.
In November, the latest figures available, Garfield County recorded an unemployment rate of 3.3 percent, while the state of Oklahoma posted a 5.2 percent unemployment rate. Garfield County started 2012 with a jobless rate of 4.0 percent. The number fluctuated throughout the year before dropping to 3.3 percent in November.
The state started the year with a jobless rate of 6.1 percent. It fluctuated throughout 2012 and started downward in the later months. John Carpenter, spokesman for Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, said there is no way to determine how much seasonal workers factored into the equation.
“Garfield County was 3.3 in November, down from 3.7 in October. We saw that trend in all 77 counties in November. It was a good month,” Carpenter said. “What we saw was a trend in the state, employment was up and unemployment down. I don’t know exactly what to attribute that to, the numbers don’t provide a reference.”
The counties with the lowest unemployment rate in the state are Dewey and Ellis at 2.2 percent. LeFlore County had the highest unemployment rate in November at 8.9 percent. Northwest Oklahoma counties historically have low unemployment rates, Carpenter said, and LeFlore County and the southeastern region of the state are historically high.
Jon Blankenship, president of Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce, said Enid has a work force shortage.
“That is a great problem to have if you can solve it,” he said.
Blankenship said Enid needs to grow its own workers, but also look at new markets to attract people to the area. He said there is a booming energy sector, retail is doing well and manufacturing is up. He cited improvements downtown and at schools as positive factors.
“... anything we can do to help the quality of life improvements is a plus from a recruitment standpoint,” Blankenship said.
Brent Kisling, director of Enid Regional Development Alliance, said a work-force development team meets every month and discusses what the community needs, and to make sure they are advertising jobs outside Enid.
“That’s where our partners at Monster.com come in handy, and also OKMatch.com. That site is paid for by the state of Oklahoma,” Kisling said. “Everyone who graduates from college or is enrolled in CareerTech has their resumé posted on there. It finds jobs from HR websites.”
Enid has about 1,700 unfilled jobs, he said. The first step to fill those jobs is getting an announcement out beyond city limits, and getting more tools in the hands of employers. Last week, employers received a work force recruitment video that has had 4,000 hits online on YouTube. Employers send the video to prospective employees and show them what the community is like.
The Monster.com relationship has been good. There are not as many companies using it as ERDA officials would like, but they are receiving some applications from out of town. The U.S. Census estimated the population of Enid at 52,000 in 2012. The 2010 census showed just over 49,000, Kisling said.
“That must mean we are bringing some people to town. We have a lot of people working right now. There are still a lot of positions available in Enid,” Kisling said.
One factor working against Enid is the shortage of housing. Kisling said it is hard to bring someone here if there is no place for them to live. ERDA tracks housing closely, even though it is difficult to track rentals.
“We’re working with developers who may be interested in constructing rentals,” Kisling said.
Home construction is less active than it has been recently. Enid usually has a six- to seven-month supply of housing, considering the number sold each month, he said. Now, the community is down to a three- or four-month backlog of houses.
“It didn’t drop until summer. The trigger for us is to find developers who would be interested in building,” he said.
Last year was good in Garfield County and Enid from an employment standpoint.
- State News
Latta team holds off Haworth
Eleven months and three weeks or so ago, the Latta Panthers were battling Haworth in a Class 2A State championship game. Latta fans won’t soon forget handing out that 58-41 shellacking to win the gold ball.
Friday’s night’s rematch in a 2A Area Tournament title tilt inside Byng’s Bill Koller Fieldhouse was much closer.
Lady Cougars stop No. 1 Fort Gibson in overtime
The Ada Lady Cougars rolled into Friday night’s area championship game holding opponents to less than 32 points per game in the playoffs. Fort Gibson was averaging 67 ppg in its impressive playoff run.
When push came to shove for the area championship with a state tournament trip on the line, it was Ada’s defense that prevailed.
The fifth-ranked Lady Cougars upset the top-ranked Lady Tigers 33-30 in an overtime thriller to punch their ticket to this week’s Class 4A State Tournament.
Ada firefighter Danny Manuel wants to be the top Ninja warrior on NBC’s popular American Ninja Warrior television show.
He is anxiously awaiting word on whether he has been selected as one of the contestants for this year’s show.
He went through this same process last year but was never contacted.
Just like Charlie Brown on the mound in a rainstorm, Manuel keeps training and hoping for the best, even when nobody’s watching.
In the meantime, Manuel, who turns 40 this month, is preparing as if he’ll get the call for what promises to be another strenuous competition in 2014.
Local state representative wins technology award
Oklahoma state Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, has been designated as one of Government Technology magazine’s top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers for his work to apply innovation and technology in Oklahoma state government. Since 2002, Government Technology has honored those individuals who have transformed the public sector through the smart use of technology.
- Diplomatic immunity: Moorish American claims status, fails to appear for misdemeanor jury trial
Tornado season is just around the corner
It might be difficult for some Oklahomans to think about tornado season while dealing with below-freezing temperatures. However, with a weather warm up on the horizon, now is a great time to get prepared for turbulent spring weather.
Patton moves east for new corrections gig
In Robert C. Patton, Oklahoma is getting a new corrections director from Arizona who is more than willing to use private prisons as a means to deal with inmate overcrowding.
“I’m a (prison) bed manager. I’ll tell the policy makers I need beds, and if I can convince them that I need beds, then it’s their jobs on whether it’s public or private,” said Patton, whose first day as Oklahoma Corrections Department director began Tuesday.
Patton’s position on private prisons is far different than that of Jones, the former director who resigned in October following clashes with elected officials who wanted to put more inmates in private facilities.
The Oklahoma Board of Corrections last month approved a measure that allows the state to seek proposals from private prison companies to provide an additional 350 to 2,000 medium-security beds for state inmates.
Developer wants to build Pilot Travel Center
The facility will go inside a building that has laid dormant for several years, located on the south side of U.S. 412 at 42nd.
FedEx plans new freight terminal
Delivery giant could expand Enid facilities to serve region
Honoring Chris Lane
One by one, they stopped playing or coaching and walked past the media to talk about Chris Lane.
Guess you could say he was on everybody’s mind Wednesday, especially the 40 or so players from Redlands Community College and East Central University.
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