Oklahoma’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic continues to improve. That’s according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC), which says reports show that unemployment claims continued their 10-week decline.
As of the week ending Aug. 29, the OESC says Oklahoma’s four-week average declined for initial claims and continued claims. Initial claims dropped to 5,125 for the week of Aug. 29, a 939-point drop from the previous week’s revised level of 6,604.
Continued claims totaled 108,965 in the week ending Aug. 29, dropping by 13,548 from the previous week’s 122,513.
As of Aug. 29, the OESC has paid more than $2.9 billion total benefits and has processed more than 820,000 claims.
“I’m thrilled to see claim numbers declining for the 10th week in a row,” said Shelley Zumwalt, OESC’s executive director, “and I certainly hope these rates continue to fall.”
“This trend is a good sign that the job gains we saw in July were not a fluke, and, even though we saw less job growth in August, the state’s economic outlook is steadily improving,” she added.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling (405) 962-7524 or by mail at OESC, PO 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.
The OESC is an excellent resource for Oklahomans looking to re-enter the job market through the agency’s connections to available employment at OKJobMatch.com, https://okjobmatch.com/.
Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer
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