OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) reports a decrease in initial unemployment claims and an increase in continued claims as well as the continued claims’ four-week moving average, according to a media release. The agency also continues to encourage employers and claimants to register for its career fairs in May.

“For the third consecutive week, we saw an increase in continued claims and in the continued claims’ four-week moving average,” said Shelley Zumwalt, OESC Executive Director. “With the decline in initial claims and the upcoming career fairs OESC will host throughout the state, we are hopeful that we will make progress on unemployment and get more Oklahomans back to work. Regarding the career fairs, so far the employers registered represent more than 8,000 open positions. Businesses have safely re-opened, and we’re confident we can help rebuild Oklahoma’s workforce through these re-employment efforts.”

Claimants can fulfill their work search requirements at the upcoming OESC career fairs in May at these locations:

• Tulsa Expo Square, May 6-7

• McAlester Expo Center, May 10

• Enid Stride Bank Center, May 12

• Lawton Hilton Garden Inn, May 14

• Oklahoma City Convention Center, May 17-18

• Virtual, May 5-28

Employers can register to participate in the career fairs at http://regpack.com/reg/OESC, and those looking for jobs can register at http://regpack.com/reg/oesc21.

Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending April 24

• For the week ending April 24, the advance number of initial claims, unadjusted, totaled 16,300, a decrease of 456 from the previous week's revised level of 16,756.

• Initial claims’ four-week moving average was 16,226, an increase of 1,804 from the previous week's revised average of 14,422.

• The advance unadjusted number of continued claims totaled 32,990, an increase of 3,848 from the previous week’s revised level of 29,142.

• Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 27,988, an increase of 2,277 from the previous week's revised average of 25,711.

Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims during the same period was 553,000, a decrease of 13,000 from the previous week's revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was 611,750, a decrease of 44,000 from the previous week. For the week ending April 17, U.S. DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6%, 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.

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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