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Unemployment Claims Continue to Decline Toward Pre-pandemic Levels

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Tulsa and Oklahoma City See Pre-pandemic Unemployment Numbers in July

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) reports a continued decline in both initial and continued claims, with both four-week moving averages also declining. 

“I'm thrilled to continue to see unemployment claims decline in Oklahoma, nearing pre-pandemic levels statewide,” said Shelley Zumwalt, OESC Executive Director. “Last week, the agency paid out just $5.5 million in state benefits from the UI Trust Fund, which is the lowest weekly pay out of UI benefits since February 2020. This is great news for our state's employers and the state workforce as the state’s economy continues to trend in the right direction and people are getting back to work.”

In July 2021, both Oklahoma City and Tulsa reached pre-pandemic unemployment numbers, with Oklahoma City’s numbers falling to 2.8% and Tulsa’s falling to 3.1%. In comparison, in July 2019, Oklahoma City’s unemployment rate was 3% and Tulsa’s unemployment rate was 3.2%. 

“The drop in unemployment claims in our largest metropolitan areas is a positive indicator of the state’s progress, and we hope to continue to see progress in the coming months,” said Zumwalt.

Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending Aug. 21

  • For the file week ending Aug. 21, the number of initial claims totaled 3,146, a decrease of 840 from the previous week's level of 3,986. 
  • For the same file week, the less volatile initial claims four-week moving average was 3,626, a decrease of 144 from the previous week's average of 3,770.
  • The number of continued claims totaled 27,549, a decrease of 1,796 from the previous week’s level of 29,345.
  • Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 29,173, a decrease of 1,201 from the previous week's average of 30,374.

Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ending Aug. 28 was 340,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week's revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was 355,000, a decrease of 11,750 from the previous week’s revised average. For the week ending Aug. 21, U.S. DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.0%, a decrease 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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