Tens of thousands remain unemployed in Oklahoma, but for this week at least, there is some solace in that number staying below six digits.
Employment, or lack thereof, has been one of the most devastating indirect effects of the COVID-19 outbreak for millions of Americans. Claims for unemployment insurance spiked in March and remain at historically high levels.
Hundreds of thousands in Oklahoma lost their jobs. The state possessed one of the healthiest unemployment funds in the nation, but benefits were hard to come by as the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission’s computer systems were not equipped to handle the flood of applicants. Thousands sought help at in-person events hosted by the OESC when they were unable to secure assistance online. Hundreds turned up to these events who didn’t speak English and were assisted by translators who braved exposure to COVID to help their fellow Oklahomans.
The OESC tracked the number of continued claims throughout this entire process. The agency pays close attention to a four-week moving average to help provide a more reliable estimate of unemployment levels. An average helps smooth the volatility in weekly claims data. That average remained more than 100,000 since the onset, but it finally dropped Thursday.
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