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Continued Claims Four-Week Moving Average Declines for Ninth Consecutive Week

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Majority of Employer Contribution Rates for 2022 Remain Unchanged or Decrease

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) reports that initial and continued claims declined for the week of Sept. 18, while both the initial claims’ and the continued claims’ four-week moving averages also declined. 

“The U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) reports that Oklahoma City had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation for metropolitan areas in August and our state continues to rank eighth in the nation,” said Shelley Zumwalt, OESC Executive Director. “That combined with the continued claims’ four-week moving average declining for nine consecutive weeks shows the considerable progress the state and agency have made in rebuilding our workforce. With these great strides, we also recognize that there are still challenges in some of our more rural parts of the state. Through our re-employment initiatives and training programs, OESC is focused on strengthening all areas of our state’s workforce.”

Employer Contribution Rate Change

OESC also announced the majority of employers will see no change or a decrease in their employer contribution rate for 2022. The majority of employers (73%) will see no change in their rate and 19% of employers will see a decrease. Only 4% of employers will have a rate increase, with an average increase of .97%. The remaining 4% of employers are new employers.  

Employers pay into the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund, which funds UI payments to eligible claimants. Based on the UI Trust Fund solvency during the past 12 quarters or 36 months, the agency releases new contribution rates annually for the following calendar year effective Jan. 1. The trust fund’s solvency is determined by evaluating how much money was paid out to claimants compared to how much money was paid into the fund by employers. 

Although the historically high claims volume decreased the UI Trust Fund balance, Oklahoma’s UI Trust Fund ranks in the top ten in the nation in terms of solvency. 

“As a result of legislative initiatives and our UI Trust Fund management and policies, the majority of employer contribution rates will remain unchanged or decrease,” said Zumwalt. “This is great news for employers. The agency is committed to keeping the trust fund solvent and doing what we can to keep contribution rates low.”

Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending Sept. 18

  • For the file week ending Sept. 18, the number of initial claims totaled 2,171, a decrease of 1,264 from the previous week's level of 3,435. 
  • For the same file week, the less volatile initial claims four-week moving average was 2,741, a decrease of 243 from the previous week's average of 2,984.
  • The number of continued claims totaled 21,320, a decrease of 757 from the previous week’s level of 22,077.
  • Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 23,138, a decrease of 1,557 from the previous week's average of 24,695.

Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ending Sept. 25 was 362,000, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week's unrevised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was  340,000, an increase of 4,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average. For the week ending Sept. 18, U.S. DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2%, 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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