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Initial Claims Decline by Nearly 50%

Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Agency Continues to Review Back to Work Initiative Applications

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) reports a decline in initial claims and the initial claims’ four-week moving average, with continued claims declining and the continued claims’ four-week moving average increasing. The agency also continues to prioritize reviewing Back-to-Work applications. 

“Nearly a 50% decline in initial claims is great news for Oklahoma businesses and the state workforce as Oklahomans continue to get back to work,” said Shelley Zumwalt, OESC Executive Director. “The decline is a promising indicator of the direction we’re heading. We are continuing to review applications for the Back-to-Work Initiative. The agency has received more than 2,100 applications from eligible claimants, and we are continuing to pay out the $1,200 to those applicants once approved. We are expecting to see a higher influx of eligible applicants in August and early September as claimants wrap up their six consecutive weeks of employment. I encourage all eligible claimants to apply for the initiative once they’ve completed their six weeks of work.”

OESC encourages all claimants who had an active claim between May 2-May 15, 2021 and who have completed their six consecutive weeks of employment with an Oklahoma employer to apply for the Back-to-Work Initiative at

Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending July 17

  • For the file week ending July 17, the number of initial claims totaled 4,394, a decrease of 3,393 from the previous week's level of 7,787. 
  • For the same file week, the less volatile initial claims four-week moving average was 7,046, a decrease of 1,191 from the previous week's revised average of 8,237.
  • The number of continued claims totaled 37,285, a decrease of 3,030 from the previous week’s level of 40,315.
  • Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 37,106, an increase of 723 from the previous week's average of 36,383.

Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ending July 24 was 400,000, a decrease of 24,000 from the previous week's revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was 394,500, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week’s revised average. For the week ending July 17, U.S. DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4%, 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.

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