Weekly unemployment claims spike

OKLAHOMA CITY — As Oklahoma businesses begin to reopen, the number of initial unemployment insurance claims filed with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) reached its highest weekly reported level since the onset of the energy and COVID-19 crises.
For the week ending May 2, unadjusted initial claims in Oklahoma totaled 68,237, an increase of 15,737 from the previous adjusted week of 52,500, revised up from the initially reported total of 42,577.
Nationally, the seasonally adjusted initial claims totaled 3,169,000 a decrease of 677,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 3,839,000. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate for the country was 15.5 percent for the week ending May 2, up 3.1 percent.
“The jump in initial unemployment claims show the impact the energy crisis and coronavirus are having on our state’s economy and the need for Oklahomans to safely return to their livelihoods,” Secretary for Digital Transformation David Ostrowe said. “The record claims numbers include individuals who don’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits but don’t completely account for the spike that occurred last week.”
Almost $432 million in total benefits have been paid to claimants during the COVID-19 crisis with more than 375,000 filing for unemployment relief by the week ending May 2.
OESC began processing claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) during the week ending May 2. That process has increased dramatically over the past five days.