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OESC Launches Return to Work Incentive Application

Thursday, July 01, 2021

The Agency Reports Decreases in Both Initial and Continued Unemployment Claims

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) officially launched the application for the $1,200 Back to Work Initiative Monday. 

“The application for the governor’s Back to Work Initiative is officially live on the OESC website,” said Shelley Zumwalt, OESC Executive Director. “A $1,200 incentive will be available to the first 20,000 eligible Oklahomans who successfully complete the application and receive verification through the agency’s manual review process. The application will be open through September and we encourage Oklahomans returning to the workforce to apply.” 

As a reminder, claimants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the incentive:

  • Have had an active unemployment claim and filed for at least one week between the dates of May 2-15, 2021
  • Accepted one full time offer of employment or two part time positions with employers in the state of Oklahoma, working 32 hours a week or more
  • Completed at least six full weeks of paid employment and can provide a valid paycheck stub for proof between May 17, 2021 - Sept. 4, 2021

“So far, over 9,000 Oklahomans have had success accessing the application, and on average, have completed it in five minutes or less,” said Zumwalt. “Once an application is approved it will be reviewed once more to verify documents. Claimants that receive a full approval on their application will be notified via email.”

To be eligible for the Back to Work Initiative, claimants need to have already worked and show paystubs for six weeks of full-time employment at the time of their application. 

Following completion, applications will be reviewed individually to verify paystubs and program eligibility. Payments will be distributed to the first 20,000 approved applicants. The first payments for this program are expected to be made the week of July 12-July 16. Oklahomans can submit their application for the Back to Work Initiative at

Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending June 19

  • For the file week ending June 19th, the number of initial claims totaled 9,161, a decrease of 1,453 from the previous week's level of 10,614. 
  • For the same file week, the less volatile initial claims 4-week moving average was 10,358 an increase of 200 from the previous week's average of 10,158
  • The number of continued claims totaled 34,392, a decrease of 1,273 from the previous week’s level of 35,665.
  • Continued claims’ four week moving average was 34,825 an increase of 421 from the previous week's average of 34,404.

Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ending June 26 was 364,000, a decrease of 51,000 from the previous week's revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was 392,750, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average. For the week ending June 19, U.S. DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5%, an increase of 0.1 percentage point 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.