- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 6, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Overall revenue collections to the Oklahoma treasury declined for the 18th consecutive month in August, Oklahoma Treasurer Ken Miller reported on Tuesday, while state unemployment has exceeded the national rate for the first time in 26 years.

Gross receipts to the state treasury declined 4 percent last month compared with the same month in 2015, while collections over the past 12 months were off by more than 7 percent compared with the prior period. Miller, an economist, said he has yet to find any indication that the state’s economic slump over the last two years shows any sign of ending soon.

“We keep scouring through the data to find signs of an impending turnaround, but it’s just not there,” Miller said in a statement. “Some aspects of the August report aren’t as negative as in prior months - a few revenue streams have ticked up slightly - but we can’t yet point to a positive trend.”

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission said the state’s unemployment rate increased to 5 percent in July, higher than the national rate of 4.9 percent. The last time Oklahoma’s jobless rate topped the nation’s was in October 1990, Miller said. Oklahoma’s unemployment rate has increased 0.7 percentage point since July 2015, with the largest job declines over the last year in manufacturing, with 11,100 jobs lost, and mining and logging, which includes the oil and gas industry, reporting 10,800 jobs lost.

Miller reported that two revenue sources - individual income and motor vehicle taxes - each were around 5 percent higher than in August 2015. But he noted that over the last 12 months, every major revenue stream remained lower than the previous one-year period.

The report noted gross receipts in August totaled $832.2 million, a 4 percent decrease from collections in August 2015.

Miller has reported gross receipts figures since March 2011, citing the numbers as providing a broad view of the state’s macro economy. Oklahoma’s Secretary of Finance, Preston Doerflinger, provides a separate report on receipts to the state’s General Revenue Fund, which is the state’s main operating fund for state agencies and receives a little less than half of the state’s gross receipts.


This story has been corrected to show that Oklahoma’s unemployment rate exceeded the national rate for the first time since 1990, not 2003.

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