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Oklahoma jobless rate drops; new stipend to be available

June 25, 2021 GMT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission on Friday reported a drop in the state’s jobless rate in May, even as the numbers of initial unemployment claims and the moving average of initial claims rise.

The May unemployment rate of 4% is down from 4.3% in April while initial claims for the week ending June 12 increased by 1,680 to 10,614. The four-week moving average of initial claims rose by 493 to 10,158, according to the report released Thursday.

The four-week moving average for continued claims in the state rose by 353 to 34,404.

“We are making great strides here in Oklahoma, but pre-pandemic in February of 2020 the state’s unemployment rate was at 3.1%,” said OESC Director Shelley Zumwalt. “This indicates there is still room for improvement in helping people rejoin the state workforce.”

The OESC has hosted career fairs in the state in an effort to fill jobs as a federal $300-a-week supplemental unemployment benefit ends starting Sunday.

A $1,200 stipend is being offered to anyone returning to work and working 32 or more hours per week, either at one full-time or two part-time jobs.