Oklahoma initial jobless claims decline as state reopens - InfoNews

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Oklahoma initial jobless claims decline as state reopens

A man pauses at 9:02 a.m. at the overlook on the plaza outside the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum on the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 19, 2020. The memorial remains closed and did not hold a live remembrance ceremony due to coronavirus restrictions. (Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman via AP)
June 11, 2020 - 1:48 PM

OKLAHOMA CITY - The number of initial jobless claims in Oklahoma has declined as the state gradually reopens businesses that were closed or curtailed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the state Employment Security Commission said Thursday.

There were 50,397 claims during the week ending June 6, down nearly 10,000 from the previous week, OESC said.

Some people are struggling to file their claims, said OESC Interim Director Shelley Zumwalt. She didn't explain their difficulties but other officials have blamed an outdated computer system. Zumwalt replaced Robin Roberson, who resigned in May following complaints about jobless claims going unpaid.

“We’re processing claims at a very high rate, as evidenced by the total claims numbers. We have a long way to go and will continue to do everything we can to get all concerns addressed,” Zumwalt said.

Businesses began reopening in late April under a plan by Gov. Kevin Stitt.

OKLAHOMA REVENUE

Revenue collections in Oklahoma continue to fall below projections even as the state starts to reopen.

The state Office of Management and Enterprise Services reported revenue collections in May of $490.1 million — $65.5 million, or 11.8%, below estimates and $83.8 million, or 14.6%, below May 2019 collections.

“May’s revenue collections shortfall was expected, as continual losses suffered by the oil and gas industry negatively impact the state,” OMES Director Steve Harpe said in a statement Tuesday.

Gross production taxes, which include taxes on natural gas and oil, were $28.2 million for the month, $55.7 million, or 66.4%, below the estimate. Sales tax collections of $164.1 million were $29.1 million, or 15%, below estimates.

Total revenue collections during the first 11 months of fiscal year that ends June 30 were $552.3 million, or 8.8%, below the estimate, according to OMES.

MUSEUM REOPENS

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum reopened Wednesday after being closed since March to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Health and safety measures at the museum include requiring visitors to wear masks and visitors are provided with a personal stylus to use with interactive digital exhibits to reduce the touching of shared surfaces.

A planned ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing was cancelled and replaced with a video tribute, and the Oklahoma City Marathon, known as the Run to Remember, has been postponed from late April until October.

CORONAVIRUS CASES

The state Health Department on Thursday reported an increase of 146 coronavirus cases and two additional deaths due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Oklahoma has reported at least 7,626 cases of the virus and 357 deaths, up from 7,480 confirmed cases and 355 deaths reported on Wednesday.

The actual number of infections is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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