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Continued Unemployment Claims Decline for 34th Consecutive Week

Thursday, February 18, 2021

OESC Pays Out More Than $440 Million in Continued Assistance Act Benefits

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) reports a decline in continued and initial unemployment claims, with the continued claims four-week moving average declining for the 34th consecutive week. Since January, the agency has paid out more than $440 million in Continued Assistance Act benefits to eligible claimants.

“I am pleased to see a decline in continued claims again this week,” said Shelley Zumwalt, OESC Executive Director. “While the initial claims numbers can vary quite a bit week-to-week, the more important data point for the unemployment outlook is the continued claims four-week moving average, which has consistently declined for the past 34 weeks.”

Continued Assistance Act

After the Continued Assistance Act was signed, OESC prioritized processing payments and distributing these funds to Oklahomans who qualified for these benefits as quickly as possible. Since OESC processed the first round of payments on Jan. 8, 2021, the agency has paid out more than $440 million in Continued Assistance Act benefits. 

“I want to recognize the OESC team for their continued commitment to getting benefits into the hands of Oklahomans,” said Zumwalt. “Their hard work resulted in the agency's ability to process Continued Assistance Act payments for more than 100,000 people in our state who needed help.”

Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending Feb. 13

  • For the week ending Feb. 13, the advance number of initial claims, unadjusted, totaled 4,859, a decrease of 2,342 from the previous week's revised level of 7,201. 
  • Initial claims’ four-week moving average was 6,495, a decrease of 572 from the previous week's revised average of 7,067.
  • The advance unadjusted number of continued claims totaled 28,178, a decrease of 9,473 from the previous week’s revised level of 37,651.
  • Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 35,117, a decrease of 2,970 from the previous week's revised average of 38,087.

Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims during the same period was 861,000, an increase of 13,000 from the previous week's revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was 833,250, a decrease of 3,500 from the previous week. For the week ending Feb. 6, DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.2%, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised 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 Feb. 13

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