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Continued Unemployment Claims Decline for the 31st Consecutive Week

Thursday, January 28, 2021

OESC Paid Out Over $4 Billion Since March 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) reports a continued decline in continued and initial unemployment claims, with the continued claims four-week moving average declining for the 31st consecutive week. 

“We are encouraged to see the drop in continued claims for the 31st consecutive week. There was a significant drop in continued claims from last week, but we do expect to see a correction in reporting from the U.S. Department of Labor that will increase claims but still show a decline,” said Shelley Zumwalt, OESC Executive Director. “Our staff has worked incredibly hard to help claimants in need. In less than a year since last March, we have paid out over $4 billion in benefits.”

Continued Assistance Act

On Jan. 25 and 26, OESC paid out Continued Assistance Act (CAA) benefits to eligible claimants. In this round of payouts, the agency paid out more than $240 million.

“Our team worked tirelessly to get benefits into the hands of claimants in order to provide much needed relief,” said Zumwalt. “On Monday and Tuesday, the agency paid out over $240 million to claimants in Continued Assistance Act benefits. This is more funds paid out in two days than the nearly $230 million OESC paid out in four months for the Lost Wage Assistance program. I am grateful for our staff’s hard work in making this happen efficiently.”

If a claimant believes they are eligible for CAA benefits and did not receive benefits, they should visit https://oklahoma.gov/oesc and use the virtual agent to report the issue. OESC is working to fix any issues with payments as they are reported.

Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending Jan. 23

  • For the week ending Jan. 23, the advance number of initial claims, unadjusted, totaled 5,302, a decrease of 1,842 from the previous week's revised level of 7,144. 
  • Initial claims’ four-week moving average was 6,381, an increase of 68 from the previous week's revised average of 6,313.
  • The advance unadjusted number of continued claims totaled 20,267, a decrease of 19,792 from the previous week’s revised level of 40,059.*
  • Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 35,990, a decrease of 4,716 from the previous week's revised average of 40,706.

Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims during the same period was 847,000, a decrease of 67,000 from the previous week's revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was 868,000, an increase of 16,250 from the previous week. For the week ending Jan. 16, DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.4%, a decrease of 0.1% 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. 23

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