OESC: Increases in initial, continued unemployment claims; virtual career fairs announced
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) reports an increase in initial and continued unemployment claims, with the initial claims’ four-week moving average declining and the continued claims’ four-week moving average increasing.
“The relatively large increases in initial and continued claims this week are the result of fraudulent activity coupled with the approaching end of federal benefits,” said OESC Executive Director Shelley Zumwalt. “Fraudsters are increasing their activity nationwide to try and catch the last federal dollars, but we are aware of this fraud and are taking steps to identify and curb this activity. I think it’s important to note that these numbers are claims filed, not claims processed and paid out. For claimants looking toward the upcoming June 26 deadline of federal benefits ending, we’re excited to announce additional in-person and virtual career fairs to help them find employment.”
June Career Fairs
OESC is announcing it will host two additional career fairs in Oklahoma City and Tulsa at the end of June, just before federal benefits are slated to end. In addition, the agency is extending its virtual career fair throughout the month of June. The agency encourages claimants looking for employment to attend a career fair before federal benefits end to take advantage of the $1,200 Return-to-Work Incentive. Oklahomans will find thousands of open positions across a range of industries, including retail sales/customer service, hospitality and food service, manufacturing, healthcare, and many more.
Additionally, OESC encourages claimants looking for work who need child care assistance to use the Oklahoma Department of Human Services’ (OKDHS) 60 days of subsidized child care by visiting https://okdhslive.org/.
Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending May 22
For the file week ending May 22, the advance number of initial claims, unadjusted, totaled 15,545, an increase of 6,901 from the previous week's revised level of 8,644.
Initial claims’ four-week moving average was 11,160, a decrease of 456 from the previous week's revised average of 11,616.
The advance unadjusted number of continued claims totaled 28,902, an increase of 8,643 from the previous week’s revised level of 20,259.
Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 24,418, an increase of 716 from the previous week's revised average of 23,702.
Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims during the same period was 406,000, a decrease of 38,000 from the previous week's revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was 458,750, a decrease of 46,000 from the previous week. For the week ending May 15, U.S. DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6%, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point 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.
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, 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.