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Oklahoma Unemployment Numbers Meet Expectations

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission heard the number of unemployed could be just over 4,000; a number that would create a more urgent need for those unemployed.

"We're getting back to where we were before the recession began," said John Carpenter with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

After a two week lag, the numbers are now out.

"That's a little lower than what we thought at first," said Carpenter.

Ending the week of Dec. 28, 3,973 Oklahomans are no longer receiving extended unemployment benefits, which accounts for around 18% of Oklahoma's total unemployment claims.

"It reflects a bigger problem we have now showing that we've had people unemployed for long stretches," said Carpenter.

Just under 4,000 Oklahomans were cut from extended benefits. Those are numbers Michael Owens can put with faces at the Ralph Ellison library off NE 23rd St. and MLK Ave.

"50 percent of their job is helping people look for jobs," said Library Manager, Michael Owens.

Library computer technician is a job that was partially created due to the job hunt.

"We have to set up email accounts for them, teach them how to navigate, that is a bulk of a lot of what we do as well as resume writing," said Owens.

The efforts have increased since Dec. 28. 

"We have a tremendous amount of people who come in," said Owens.

And that has the librarian role checking into the people and not just the books.

"Them coming in and your heart goes out to them because you know how difficult it can be," said Owens.

Oklahoma's total unemployment benefits claims are now just over 22,000; a number that the employment security commission compares to pre-recession numbers which were about 16,000.

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