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Continued unemployment claims’ four-week average in state declines for 10th consecutive week
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Continued unemployment claims’ four-week average in state declines for 10th consecutive week

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For the file week ending Sept. 25, the number of initial unemployment claims in Oklahoma totaled 2,090, a decrease of 81 from the previous week’s level of 2,171. Job fairs, such as the one seen here, are a factor in helping match workers with jobs.

Initial unemployment claims in the state, as well as continued claims and the initial claims’ four-week moving average, all declined in the most recent reporting week, and the continued claims’ four-week moving average declined for the 10th consecutive week, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission said Thursday.

The agency also reported that the rate of clients’ problem resolutions on their first calls to the agency has increased to 87% for the month of September, with call wait times declining to three minutes.

For the file week ending Sept. 25, the number of initial state claims totaled 2,090, a decrease of 81 from the previous week’s level of 2,171.

For the same file week, the less volatile initial claims four-week moving average was 2,594, a decrease of 147 from the previous week’s average of 2,741.

The number of continued claims totaled 19,394, a decrease of 1,926 from the previous week’s level of 21,320.

Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 21,668, a decrease of 1,470 from the previous week’s average of 23,138.

“It’s incredible to see the continued increase in the agency’s first-call resolution rate, meaning 87% of claimants are getting the help they need with just one call to the agency,” said OESC Executive Director Shelley Zumwalt.

“This demonstrates the agency’s commitment to helping Oklahomans with their unemployment benefits,” she said. “Last week, we also saw a nearly 10% decline in continued claims, a significant decrease in claims.

“We are continuing to see a decline in unemployment claims week over week as we near prepandemic numbers. Still, the agency remains focused on rebuilding the workforce through our reemployment efforts.”

Nationally, unemployment claims fell by 38,000 to 326,000, the first drop in four weeks, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.

Since surpassing 900,000 in early January, the weekly applications — a proxy for layoffs — had fallen more or less steadily all year. Still, they remain elevated from prepandemic levels: Before COVID-19 hammered the U.S. economy in March 2020, weekly claims were consistently coming in around 220,000.

After hitting a pandemic low of 312,000 in early September, claims had risen three straight weeks, suggesting that the highly contagious delta variant was at least temporarily disrupting a recovery in jobs.

Individuals seeking Oklahoma unemployment benefits should go to 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.

— The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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