Despite Low Unemployment Rates, Many Oklahoma Residents Without a Job

Many Oklahoma residents are out of the workforce despite the state’s low unemployment rates.

The Tulsa World reports that about 25 percent of state residents between ages 25 and 54 don’t have a job.

Shelley Cadamy is the executive director of Workforce Tulsa, an organization connecting workers with businesses. Cadamy says the state has more jobs than qualified applicants.

Princeton University researcher Alan Krueger says opioid use is keeping many residents from getting jobs. He says labor participation has decreased in places where more opioid pain medication is prescribed.

Other factors keeping residents out of work include poor health, prison records, family obligations, transportation, education and training.

Fewer workers mean less economic activity and state tax revenue. It also means more demands on public and private social service agencies.

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