OKLAHOMA CITY (AP)
Oklahoma was one of only four states to show lower unemployment in December, compared with the month before, with a drop of half a percentage point to 6.6 percent, according to federal figures.
That was the biggest improvement in joblessness in the nation.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday that the December unemployment rate in Oklahoma was down from a November rate of 7.1 percent.
The labor statistics agency said that the national unemployment rate in December was 10 percent, the same as in November.
Economists in Oklahoma said it would be wise to wait a few months before deciding that a trend had been established.
"One month just isn't enough to look at," said Lynn Gray, chief economist of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
Gray said the decline in Oklahoma sounds very good, but he cautioned that many people might not have been included in the data because they were discouraged and quit looking for work, or they retired or returned to school.
The jobless rate climbed from November to December in 43 states and the District of Columbia, according to the BLS.
In addition to Oklahoma, the other states to show a drop in unemployment in December were South Dakota, Iowa and Michigan, though Michigan's rate of 14.6 percent in December remained the highest of all states. North Dakota had the lowest at 4.4 percent.
In December 2008, Oklahoma had an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent.