- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Data released this week by federal and state agencies show unemployment rates in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City metropolitan areas increased in April.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reported on Wednesday that the unemployment rate in the Tulsa area rose to 3.8 percent, up from the 3.6 percent rate in March. But the April figure was below the 4.1 percent rate recorded a year ago at the same time.

In the Oklahoma City area, the unemployment rate was at 3.4 percent in April, which is up 0.1 percentage points from March but still lower than a year earlier.

A recent decrease in oil prices has resulted in Oklahomans losing their jobs within the industry. But a contraction in oil and gas jobs means other industries may be able to pick up skilled, qualified workers for jobs in engineering, technology and others, said economist Bob Ball with the Tulsa Regional Chamber.

“Businesses across the country and across the globe have benefited from lower prices. We know we’re one of a handful of states where things work opposite the economy as a whole,” he said. “We tend to be hurting, and we’re wary with these lower oil prices, but we have a diverse enough economy that we see jobs being filled with those displaced.”

The federal agency reported that Lincoln, Nebraska, had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 2.1 percent in April. Yuma, Arizona, recorded the highest rate at 22.2 percent.

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