First-time unemployment claims in South Dakota drop to lowest point since pandemic began

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 8:43 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Initial unemployment claims have dropped to pre-pandemic levels, according to South Dakota’s latest jobs report.

The Department of Labor received 233 first-time unemployment benefits claim last week, which is a decrease of over 300 from the prior week’s total of 551.

Thursday’s jobs report saw the lowest number of initial claims since the first case of coronavirus was detected in South Dakota back in March. Prior to the pandemic, the state averaged between 200-300 first-time claims per week. During the early weeks of the pandemic, the state received thousands of claims per week - with a peak of over 8,000 weekly claims in early April.

The latest number of continued state claims is 5,987 for the week ending Sept. 19, a decrease of 963 from the prior week’s total of 6,950. This indicates the number of unemployed workers eligible for and receiving benefits after their initial claim.

According to the South Dakota Department of Labor, a total of $1.2 million was paid out in state benefits, in addition to $757,000 in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, $478,000 in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and $96,000 in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits.

The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund balance was $120.6 million on Sept. 27.

Nationwide, unemployment claims declined to 837,000, though this number is still higher than pre-pandemic levels.

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