OESC reports an increase in initial and continued claims

Staff Reports

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) reports an overall decline in the unemployment rate for June 2021. The agency also reports that initial claims rose and the initial claims’ four-week moving average declined, while both the continued claims’ and the continued claims’ four-week moving average increased. 

“We are thrilled to see that the unemployment rate fell to 3.7% for June, which is the lowest it has been since March 2020,” said Shelley Zumwalt, OESC Executive Director. “Although we see the weekly initial and continued claims continue to fluctuate, our state is doing incredibly well and is tied for eighth for the lowest unemployment rate. The agency is continuing to focus on rebuilding the workforce through our re-employment efforts and by continuing the manual review of the Back-to-Work Initiative applications and getting that money into the hands of Oklahomans.”

The agency is also reaching out to many claimants who had an active claim between May 2-May 15, 2021 to encourage them to apply for the Back-to-Work Initiative if they are eligible. 

“Communications will be coming from the agency to claimants who may be eligible for the initiative but have not yet applied,” said Zumwalt. “We want to ensure that all eligible claimants are able to apply for the $1,200 if they meet the eligibility qualifications.”

The agency will not ask you to share personal information through an unsecure site, including texting, social media or email. When applying for the initiative, be sure to only upload any required personal information to OESC’s secure website at https://oklahoma.gov/oesc/individuals. 

Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending July 10

For the file week ending July 10, the number of initial claims totaled 7,787, an increase of 1,017 from the previous week's level of 6,770. 

For the same file week, the less volatile initial claims four-week moving average was 8,237, a decrease of 707 from the previous week's revised average of 8,944.

The number of continued claims totaled 40,315, an increase of 4,206 from the previous week’s level of 36,109.

Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 36,383, an increase of 1,163 from the previous week's revised average of 35,220.

Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ending July 17 was 419,000, an increase of 51,000 from the previous week's revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was 385,250, an increase of 750 from the previous week’s unrevised average. For the week ending July 10, U.S. DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4%, unchanged 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.

Claimant Resources

Individuals seeking unemployment benefits should go to https://ui.ok.gov and create an account with the Get Started button to connect their social security number and pull all unemployment information into one location.

Unemployment claimants should be aware that not returning to work when recalled or when work is available could potentially lead to disqualification from receiving unemployment benefits.

Employers may report this activity by emailing returntowork@oesc.state.ok.us, calling 405-962-7524, or mailing OESC at P.O. Box 52006, Oklahoma City, OK, 73152-2006.

If a claimant returns to work full time, they should keep their unemployment claim open with OESC and not certify a weekly claim. If they return part time, a claimant may continue to certify their weekly claim and must report all gross earnings for the week to potentially receive a partial benefit. Eligibility for continued benefits is determined on the circumstances of each individual claimant.

Individuals who filed for unemployment between May 2-15 and who work two part-time jobs or one full-time job of 32 hours or more per week for six consecutive weeks are eligible for the governor’s Back to Work Initiative. Eligible Oklahomans can apply at https://oklahoma.gov/oesc/individuals. 

Claimants looking for work who need child care assistance are encouraged to use the Oklahoma Department of Human Services’ (OKDHS) 60 days of subsidized child care by visiting https://okdhslive.org/.