Skip to main content

OESC Pays Out $4.4 Billion in One Year, More Than Past Decade Combined

Thursday, March 04, 2021

Continued Unemployment Claims Decline for 36th Consecutive Week

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) has paid out more than $4.4 billion since March 2020, which is nearly $1.5 billion more than the previous 10 years combined. OESC also reports a decline in continued and initial unemployment claims, with the continued claims four-week moving average declining for the 36th consecutive week. 

“Since I joined the agency in May 2020, we’ve placed top priority on improving our services for both employees and employers with a focus on ensuring we are helping Oklahomans in need,” said Shelley Zumwalt, OESC Executive Director. “In the past year, OESC has paid out more in unemployment claims than in the entire previous decade, which was extremely challenging considering the unprecedented number of claims we were processing using 40-year-old technology. Our dedicated team members continue to come up with innovative solutions to overcome the challenges. Although our state has seen a decline in continued unemployment claims since last June, I recognize that our focus on transforming our digital systems and overall processes must continue so we can better serve our claimants and employers across Oklahoma.”

Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending Feb. 27

  • For the week ending Feb. 27, the advance number of initial claims, unadjusted, totaled 5,838, a decrease of 143 from the previous week's revised level of 5,981. 
  • Initial claims’ four-week moving average was 6,449 a decrease of 457 from the previous week's revised average of 6,906.
  • The advance unadjusted number of continued claims totaled 29,906, a decrease of 5,212 from the previous week’s revised level of 35,118.
  • Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 34,184, a decrease of 1,615 from the previous week's revised average of 35,799.

Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims during the same period was  745,000, an increase of 9,000 from the previous week's revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was 790,750, a decrease of 16,750 from the previous week. For the week ending Feb. 20, DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.0%, a decrease of 0.1% 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.

Updated Graphs for Week Ending Feb. 27