Initial, rolling Oklahoma unemployment claims decline

July 29, 2021 GMT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The number of initial unemployment claims and the less volatile moving four-week average of initial claims are both down in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reported Thursday.

The number of initial weekly claims fell by about 50%, from 7,787 to 4,394, and the moving average dropped from 8,237 to 7,046, the OESC reported.

“The decline is a promising indicator of the direction we’re heading,” said OESC director Shelly Zumwalt. “We are continuing to review applications for the Back-to-Work Initiative,” a $1,200 stipend offered to anyone returning to work for 32 or more hours per week for six consecutive weeks.

The state’s latest unemployment rate of 3.7% in June was down from a high of 14.7% in April 2020 during a shutdown amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The state health department reported 1,806 new virus cases and a seven-day average of 1,268 daily cases, compared to a seven-day average of 196 on June 25, as infections have increased with the highly contagious delta variant sweeping across the state.

The health department reported a 16.4% positive rate among the 19,323 virus tests for the week ending July 24, up from a 3.8% positivity rate among 12,646 tests for the week ending June 5.