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OESC Plans to Distribute Benefits From New Relief Bill

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Continued Unemployment Claims Decline for the 38th Consecutive Week

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) is continuing to prioritize the implementation of the new federal COVID-19 relief bill that President Biden signed last week. OESC also continues to report a decline in continued and initial unemployment claims, with the continued claims four-week moving average declining for the 38th consecutive week. Additionally, the unemployment rate in Oklahoma dropped to 4.3% for January, which is 12th in the nation and below the national average of 6.3%, the U.S. Department of Labor reports.

“Thanks to the innovative and strategic solutions provided by our dedicated team at OESC, we expect to begin distributing payments from the new federal relief bill by the end of next week (Saturday, March 27),” said Shelley Zumwalt, OESC Executive Director. “I commend our team for working around the clock this past week to allow us to quickly implement the benefits package and get payments to Oklahomans in need.”

Claimants should continue to file for unemployment benefits as usual. The new COVID-19 relief package, American Rescue Plan (ARP), extends federal unemployment benefits to Oklahomas through Sept. 6, 2021. The package extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and the $300 weekly benefit from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. 

Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending March 13

  • For the week ending March 13, the advance number of initial claims, unadjusted, totaled 6,510, a decrease of 566 from the previous week's revised level of 7,076. 
  • Initial claims’ four-week moving average was 6,690, a decrease of 66 from the previous week's revised average of 6,756.
  • The advance unadjusted number of continued claims totaled 27,669, a decrease of 6,864 from the previous week’s revised level of 34,533.
  • Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 33,179, a decrease of 1,598 from the previous week's revised average of 34,777.

Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims during the same period was 770,000, an increase of 45,000 from the previous week's revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was 746,250, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week. For the week ending March 6, U.S. DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.0%, an increase 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 Mar. 13

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