Numbers You Need is a monthly publication from OK Policy that presents key data on the state’s economy, work force, human services, and budget in one concise, easy-to-read fact sheet.
The forecasters may be predicting an economic turnaround ahead, but the May edition of Numbers You Need shows we haven’t turned the corner quite yet. The state’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate hit 5.9 percent in March, an increase of 0.4 percentage point compared to the previous month and 2.6 percentage points compared to a year ago. Oklahoma is now shedding jobs at the same rate as the national average. Meanwhile, state revenue collections continued their free fall in April, coming in 21.7 percent below last year’s amount and 21.6 percent below the certified estimate.
Some other key findings from May’s edition:
- As the downturn deepens, participation in the Food Stamp program and Medicaid continues to grow, but fewer people are receiving TANF cash assistance benefits (see our blog entry “What if we threw a recession and no one showed up at the welfare office?“);
- The Consumer Price Index grew by a modest 0.3 percent in March in the South region, but was down 0.3 percent over the past 12 months;
- Bankruptcies in Oklahoma were up 23.0 percent in 2008 compared to 2007; and
- 56 percent of Oklahoma public school children were enrolled in the free- and reduced-meal program in 2008-09 (see our blog entry “Feeding the Children” for a full discussion).
Click here to access the full two-page fact sheet.