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OESC Pays Out More Than $5 Billion Since March 2020

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Initial Claims Fall, Continued Claims Increase

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) reports a continued decline in initial unemployment claims, while also reporting an increase in continued claims and the continued claims’ four-week moving average. The agency also reports that it has paid out more than $5 billion in unemployment benefits since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. 

“OESC has paid out more than $5 billion in unemployment benefits since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, significantly surpassing the past ten years combined,” said Shelley Zumwalt, OESC Executive Director. “I want to thank our OESC team members for their commitment to state service during the pandemic. Although we saw an increase in continued claims last week, the agency remains focused on our re-employment efforts to help claimants by providing them with employment opportunities through our ongoing services and special career fairs we are hosting across the state. We look forward to the Lawton and Oklahoma City career fairs and continuing to help individuals in their search for employment.”

OESC has hosted four, in-person career fairs in Tulsa, McAlester and Enid. The agency will host its fifth career fair in Lawton this Friday at the Hilton Garden Inn & Conference Center, with career fairs scheduled in Oklahoma City on Monday and Tuesday at the Oklahoma City Convention Center. OESC is also hosting a virtual career fair through May 28 for all Oklahomans.

Employers can register to participate in the career fairs at http://regpack.com/reg/OESC, and those looking for jobs can register at http://regpack.com/reg/oesc21.

Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending May 8

  • For the week ending May 8, the advance number of initial claims, unadjusted, totaled 10,551, a decrease of 426 from the previous week's revised level of 10,977. 
  • Initial claims’ four-week moving average was 13,913, a decrease of 1,862 from the previous week's revised average of 15,775.
  • The advance unadjusted number of continued claims totaled 31,469, an increase of 6,338 from the previous week’s revised level of 25,131.
  • Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 27,945, an increase of 1,469 from the previous week's revised average of 26,476.

Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims during the same period was 473,000, a decrease of 34,000 from the previous week's revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was 534,000, a decrease of 28,250 from the previous week. For the week ending May 1, U.S. DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6%, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's revised 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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