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Continued Unemployment Claims Decline for the 29th Consecutive Week

Thursday, January 14, 2021

OESC Sees a Seven-month Decline in Continued Claims

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) continues to report a decline in continued unemployment claims with the continued claims four-week moving average dropping for the 29th consecutive week. 

“This week we saw continued claims decrease for the 29th consecutive week, which is promising moving into 2021,” said Shelley Zumwalt, OESC Executive Director. “With seasonal work coming to a close, we did see a slight increase in initial claims, and we will continue to monitor overall trends, with a focus on doing everything we can to make sure that claimants, new and existing, receive the benefits they need.” 

Continued Assistance Act

On Jan. 8, 2021, OESC made its initial payments of federal benefits to more than 35,000 Oklahomans who have not yet exhausted their Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits. 

“As we continue to receive guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, we are prioritizing getting benefits from the Continued Assistance Act to Oklahomans as quickly as possible,” Zumwalt said. “At this time, we anticipate distributing payments on Jan. 25 to the majority of Oklahomans who have not exhausted their PEUC or PUA benefits. We expect to pay out the remainder of qualified Oklahomans in February and will continue to keep claimants updated through media and social media. As we continue to rely on an antiquated, 40-year-old system, our team has truly stepped up to fast-track this process to get payments made. I want to recognize and thank them for their hard work and commitment to serving Oklahomans.”

Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending Jan. 9

  • For the week ending Jan. 9, the advance number of initial claims, unadjusted, totaled 5,960, a decrease of 99 from the previous week's revised level of 6,059. 
  • Initial claims’ four-week moving average was 5,566, an increase of 165 from the previous week's revised average of 5,401.
  • The advance unadjusted number of continued claims totaled 34,798, a decrease of 7,359 from the previous week’s revised level of 42,157.
  • Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 39,720, a decrease of 2,552 from the previous week's revised average of 42,272.

Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims during the same period was 965,000, an increase of 181,000 from the previous week's revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was 834,250, an increase of 18,250 from the previous week. For the week ending Jan. 2, DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.7%, an increase of 0.2% 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 Jan. 9

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