OKLAHOMA CITY — Since March, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) has paid out over $2.1 billion in unemployment benefits. Over the last week, OESC has been working to serve Oklahomans at the Reed Event Center in Midwest City. At in-person, socially distanced events on July 1-2 and July 6-9, OESC has helped more than 3,000 Oklahomans to receive their unemployment benefits.

To continue serving Oklahomans safely and efficiently, OESC has added events in Midwest City on Monday, July 13, and Tuesday, July 14, as well as events at Expo Square in Tulsa on July 15-16, to account for the high volume of claimants who require in-person help.

“We’ve made significant progress to help Oklahomans receive their unemployment benefits over the past several days at our events in Midwest City. Our team has been working tirelessly and has ensured we meet our anticipated goal of serving 500 Oklahomans every single day we have had our in-person events over the past week,” said OESC Interim Executive Director Shelley Zumwalt.

“There is still significant work for us to do in order to help Oklahomans get the help they need, but these events have given us an opportunity to address the unusually high volume of claims safely and efficiently, with resources like translators for those who need them. We’re hoping to continue the success of the Midwest City events with our additional dates on Monday and Tuesday next week and our upcoming dates in Tulsa.”

Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending July 4

For the file week ending July 4, the advance number of initial claims, unadjusted, totaled 7,562, a decrease of 10,843 from the previous week's revised level of 18,405.

For the same file week, the less volatile initial claims four-week moving average was 42,340, a decrease of 17,491 from the previous week's revised average of 59,831.

For the file week ending July 4, the advance unadjusted number of continued claims totaled 123,267, a decrease of 42,031 from the previous week’s revised level of 165,298.

For the same file week, the four-week moving average was 161,029, a decrease of 8,382 from the previous week's revised average of 169,411.

Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims in the week ending July 4 was 1,314,000, a decrease of 99,000 from the previous week's revised level of 1,413,000. The four-week moving average was 1,437,250, a decrease of 63,000 from the previous week's revised average of 1,500,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 12.4% for the week ending June 27, a decrease of 0.5 percentage point from the previous week's revised rate of 12.9%.

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 4-week moving average is used to assess trends.

Claimant Resources

Individuals seeking unemployment benefits under the CARES Act 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 fulltime, 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.

OESC is an excellent resource for people looking to re-enter the job market by connecting Oklahomans with available employment through https://okjobmatch.com/.

If a PUA-eligible claimant reopens their business, they will still receive backdated unemployment benefits to when their COVID-19-related job loss or business closure occurred.

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