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Unemployment Claims Decline for the 23rd Consecutive Week

Thursday, December 03, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) continues to report a decline in the initial and continued unemployment claims with the continued claims four-week moving average dropping for the 23rd consecutive week, and initial claims dropping over 50%. In addition, continued claims dropped by roughly 20%.  

“While it is encouraging to see this significant decrease in our claims numbers over the last week, we continue to carefully monitor the factors that could influence our state’s unemployment rate, including seasonal adjustments to employment and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said OESC Executive Director Shelley Zumwalt. “The agency continues to be concentrated on process improvements we are making to improve the claimant experience.”

CARES Act Funding

In March 2020, the U.S. Legislature passed the CARES Act that began the temporary instatement of both Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs. These temporary programs help OESC provide benefits to claimants. However, the CARES Act funding for these programs is set to expire on Saturday, Dec. 26.

“Both the federally funded PUA and PEUC programs have provided significant assistance to thousands of Oklahomans in need this year and will expire as part of the CARES Act on Dec. 26,” Zumwalt said. "OESC has been closely following any announcements from our federal partners that may impact unemployment benefits and our state's citizens and will communicate any changes or updates to claimants quickly and efficiently."

PUA is available to claimants for 39 weeks, while PEUC is available for 13 weeks. Since the CARES funding for PUA is available retroactively, the agency expects that some claimants will have used up their federal benefits before the end of the year. 

Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending Nov. 28

  • For the week ending Nov. 28, the advance number of initial claims, unadjusted, totaled 2,657, a decrease of 3,177 from the previous week's revised level of 5,834.
  • Initial claims’ four-week moving average was 4,395, an increase of 574 from the previous week's revised average of 4,969.
  • The advance unadjusted number of continued claims totaled 38,821, a decrease of 10,211 from the previous week’s revised level of 49,032.
  • Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 49,665, a decrease of 5,080 from the previous week's revised average of 54,745.

Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims during the same period was 712,000, a decrease of 75,000 from the previous week's revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was 739,500, a decrease of 11,250 from the previous week. For the week ending Nov. 21, DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.8%, a decrease of 0.4 percentage point from the previous week’s revised rate.

The national weekly seasonally adjusted initial claims report is one of 10 components in the Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators. To smooth out the volatility in the weekly initial claims data, a four-week moving average is used to assess trends.

Updated Graphs for Week Ending Nov. 28