Record number of Oklahomans apply for unemployment benefits amid coronavirus outbreak

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the record number for unemployment claims in one week in Oklahoma was around 9,000 back in 1991; now, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission says it had that many claims on Wednesday alone. 

Some Oklahoma's are frustrated because they've been waiting weeks to receive their first unemployment check.  

“I cannot get them on the phone, cannot walk into the office," Kimberly Watts told News 4.  "When you do call them on the phone, I was on hold the other day for two hours then it just hung up.”

Executive Director of the Employment Security Commission says while there are a record number of people applying for unemployment, they are doing everything they can to approve claims and gets checks out as fast as possible.  

“I know there’s been some frustration. We would appreciate the patience of Oklahomans, because this is unprecedented. We haven’t seen numbers like this before,” Roberson said. “We have seen some people receive it in as little as four days, but I want to say the far end of that is about three weeks.”

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Coronavirus Oklahoma Interactive Map (click on a county to see statistics)

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