9.22-22 – Tulsa World –
State jobless claims continue to decline in Oklahoma, approaching levels not seen in over two decades.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that 1,418 first-time claims for unemployment coverage were filed the week ending Saturday in Oklahoma.
That’s a nearly 9% decline from a downwardly revised 1,748 claims filed the week ending Sept. 10.
The Labor Department also reported that continued claims, those filed after at least one week of unemployment, declined 2% from 9,947 claims the week ending Sept. 3 to 9,707 claims the following week.
And while the latest continued claims data is subject to revision, for now the total is the second-lowest since at least 1987, according to Department of Labor records.
Continued claims were lower than last week’s totals only once, during one week in October 1997 when 9,653 claims were filed.
Meanwhile, the four-week rolling average of first-time claims declined from 2,392 the week ending Sept. 10 to 2,046 claims the following week.
Likewise, the four-week rolling average of continued claims declined from 10,316 the week ending Sept 3 to 10,030 claims the following week.
“The last time continued claims were under 10,000 was in 1997, which is a direct reflection of Oklahoma’s strong economy and the current demand for labor in the state,” said Shelley Zumwalt, Oklahoma Employment Security Commission Executive Director.
“This 25-year low for Oklahoma is a great signal that the re-employment and hiring efforts seen throughout the summer months were meaningful and effective. OESC will continue to prioritize efforts that support employers and Oklahomans seeking jobs across the state, and will remain vigilant in assessing trends to inform our response efforts.”
Two neighboring states saw their first-time claims decline, Arkansas and Kansas, while Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas all posted increases in initial claims.
Nationally, initial claims increased by 5,000 to 213,000, according to seasonally adjusted figures representing the week ending Saturday.