First-time unemployment claims approach pre-pandemic levels in South Dakota

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Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 10:00 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Initial unemployment claims in South Dakota have hit their lowest point since the effects of the pandemic first impacted the state’s economy back in March.

The state received 346 initial weekly claims for unemployment benefits last week, according to the Department of Labor’s latest job report. This is down over 200 from the previous week’s total of 585.

Prior to the pandemic, the state received between 200-300 unemployment claims per week. The state was processing thousands of weekly claims in the months of April and May, when the coronavirus shuttered large portions of the economy.

South Dakota’s unemployment for the month of August was 4.8%. It generally hovered between 3-4% prior to the pandemic, but spikes as high as 10% in April.

The latest number of continued state claims is 6,511 for the week ending Sept. 5, a decrease of 2,654 from the prior week’s total of 9,165. This indicates the number of unemployed workers eligible for and receiving benefits after their initial claim.

According to the Department of Labor, a total of $1.2 million was paid out in state benefits, in addition to $1.2 million in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, $481,000 in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and $136,000 in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits.

The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund balance was $120.7 million on Sept. 13.

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