Record-Number Of Unemployment Claims In Oklahoma Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
TULSA, Oklahoma - First-time unemployment claims in Oklahoma have jumped to record levels.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports 17,720 initial claims around the state last week, which is significantly up from 1,836 filed the prior week.
Unemployment and uncertainty would make anyone uncomfortable.
"Everything's kind of felt up in the air,” said Michele Duff of Tulsa. “Not really sure what to do with my days."
Duff told News On 6 she has worked at Juniper Restaurant in Downtown Tulsa for two years.
Now, she's among the tens of thousands of people around Green Country who lost her jobs during the COVID-19 crisis.
"It's a small business, so he doesn't even know if he's going to survive it because it's e-commerce, and so I got the call Sunday that as of right now, there's no job," said Athena Kerby of Broken Arrow.
Kerby said she has a special-needs child.
Kerby and Duff don't know each other but share similar journeys: They're both single moms watching their children at home since school has been closed while waiting to hear back about unemployment benefits.
Robin Roberson with Oklahoma Employment Security Commission is asking everyone to be patient.
"I don't want people to worry about their unemployment checks,” said Roberson. “There will be funds there. We have the seventh-most solvent trust funds in the whole nation."
Both Duff and Kerby said they have no choice but to remain hopeful for their family, while calling on the government to help.
"Hopefully, the stimulus bill will pass, and unemployment will be ramped up to help for the situation," said Duff.
If you need help with applying for jobs, contact Workforce Tulsa at 918-796-1200.
The organization has all kinds of resources, from helping with your resume to figuring out the best company fit.