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
Enid man injured following pursuit
Larry Lynn Edwards was taken to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center following the 11:32 p.m. crash on 30th Street, just north of Fox Drive, with head and internal body injuries.
Texas man critical after ATV crash
Edward Alan Bourland, 37, of San Angelo, Texas, was taken from the scene of the 3 p.m. collision by Eagle Med and flown to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
Logan County pays off jail tax early, seeks new one
Logan County is paying off a sales tax ahead of schedule and needs a new one to be able to afford funding jail operation and maintenance, officials said.
Citizens vote on the county sales tax which is split for redistribution by state law. The tax is collected by the Oklahoma Tax Commission and redistributed back to the county as specified by voters.
In 2005, citizens passed a 10-year sales tax, scheduled to end next month, to fund the building, operation and maintenance of the county jail, which operates on a $1.3 million budget. Jail capacity is 188 without anyone in a holding cell or a temporary bunk. Thursday it was holding 130 inmates, said Logan County Chief Deputy Richard Stephens.
Local man relies on experience in July 4 emergency
Andy Billups just happened to have gained experience as a combat zone firefighter/medic while he was serving as a civilian contractor in Iraq.
The Edmond businessman just happened to have a friend with a place on Grand Lake where he has been viewing Independence Day fireworks for a number of years, and he just happened to be there July 4.
And he just happened to be relaxing on a hammock when he heard a some kids making a commotion.
Located two blocks east of Disney on State Highway 28 in the foothills of the Ozark Mountain Range in northeast Oklahoma, the 59,000-plus surface acre Grand Lake is known for its state parks, marinas, restaurants, motels and fishing.
The Goo Goo Dolls: A long way from making racket
Group in concert with Doughtry and Plain White T's Aug. 5 at the Enid Event Center
‘She’s my rock’: Family honors sailor who goes beyond service
Kimberly Henry has a job in Navy intelligence and beyond that, has committed to hundreds of hours of volunteer work throughout her tours of duty.
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Oil-covered owl dies: Oil field tank site investigated
Jean Neal and her husband, Jim, of Fairview, have been caring for the owls, which were covered in oil, since Tuesday when they received them from Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Hard year for peaches doesn’t dampen summer tradition
A rusting, silver-colored water tower tells visitors to this rural town between Muskogee and Tulsa that they’ve come to the “Peach Capitol of Oklahoma.”
Residents of Stratford, the state’s other self-proclaimed peach capital, might beg to differ. Even so, Porter is known for its peaches, and every year thousands of people flood this town of about 600 residents to taste and celebrate the local crop during the three-day Peach Festival.
Like the aging water tower, Porter’s peach industry isn’t as vibrant as it once was.
Chances for rain to follow triple-digit highs
Chances for rain on multiple days will follow near triple-digit highs during the weekend.
A National Weather Service-issued heat advisory is in effect until 7 p.m. Saturday and afternoon temperatures are expected to top out in the upper 90s to lower 100s into the weekend. Maximum heat-index values will range from the upper 90s to 105-110 degrees through Sunday.
Cooler weather is expected next week as a strong cold front passes over the region.
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