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Governor Kevin Stitt has announced that Oklahoma will start a new Back to Work Initiative, in addition to reverting back to pre-pandemic unemployment insurance benefits and eligibility requirements starting June 27.  View the Governor's Executive Order for this initiative, and additional resources about this initiative from OESC.

The Agency Updates Return-to-Work Incentive Eligibility Requirements, Continues Plans for Career Fairs

Thursday, June 10, 2021

OESC Reports Increases in Initial and Continued Unemployment Claims

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) reports increases in initial and continued unemployment claims, with the initial claims’ four-week moving average increasing while the continued claims’ four-week moving average declined. The agency also reports that it updated the eligibility for the $1,200 Return-to-Work Incentive the governor announced in May. 

“The agency is continuing to focus on providing benefits to those in need, while also focusing on connecting job seekers with employment opportunities through our re-employment services and upcoming career fairs,” said Shelley Zumwalt, OESC Executive Director. “We are hopeful that as federal unemployment benefits come to an end this month, we will begin to see decreases in the state’s unemployment numbers.”

OESC has updated the eligibility requirements for the $1,200 Return-to-Work Incentive. Now, the eligibility requirements have been extended to those who work two part-time jobs that equal 32 hours or more with an Oklahoma employer for six consecutive weeks. Previously, only claimants who worked a full-time job of 32 hours a week or more qualified. 

“We made this change to ensure that we can accommodate as many individuals as possible as they rejoin the workforce,” said Zumwalt. “Claimants will have more opportunities to connect with potential employers at our upcoming career fairs on June 23 and June 25 where employers are looking to fill both full-time and part-time positions. I encourage any claimant in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City areas to attend these in-person career fairs.”

OESC is also hosting a virtual career fair through the end of June to allow Oklahomans from across the state access to employment opportunities. The agency’s Tulsa career fair will be held at the Tulsa Expo Square - River Spirit Expo on June 23 and the Oklahoma City career fair will be held at the Oklahoma City Convention Center on June 25. Although not required, individuals can pre-register to attend the events at http://regpack.com/reg/oesc21. Employers can register at http://regpack.com/reg/oesc.

Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending May 29

  • For the file week ending May 29, the number of initial claims totaled 12,722, an increase of 4,362 from the previous week's level of 8,360.
  • For the same file week, the less volatile initial claims 4-week moving average was 9,800, an increase of 436 from the previous week's average of 9,364.
  • The number of continued claims totaled 33,446, an increase of 738 from the previous week’s level of 32,708.
  • Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 34,253, a decrease of 1,039 from the previous week's average of 35,292.

Due to a reporting discrepancy, the numbers reported by the U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) may not be consistent with the number OESC reported. However, OESC has provided updated information to the U.S. DOL so they can update their data.

Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ending June 5 was 376,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's unrevised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was 402,500, a decrease of 25,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average. For the week ending May 29, U.S. DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5%, a decrease of 0.2 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.

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