Both initial, continued unemployment claims decline in South Dakota
Both initial and continued unemployment assistance claims dropped in South Dakota after hitting historic highs during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the state's latest jobs report.
The South Dakota Department of Labor released new numbers Thursday, showing continued unemployment claims fell to 18,649 for the week ending in June 6, down nearly 1,000 from the previous week. Continued unemployment claims indicate the number of unemployed workers eligible for and receiving benefits after their initial claim.
Initial claims for the week ending in June 20 fell to 857, down over 200 from the previous week's total of 1,065. This number is still above normal, though. On an average week prior to the pandemic, the state processed between 200-300 claims.
South Dakota's unemployment rate dropped slightly last month, according to preliminary numbers from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, falling from 10.9% in April to 9.4% in May.
Officials say a total of $4.0 million was paid out in state benefits, in addition to $11.5 million paid out in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, $762,000 in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and $215,000 in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits.
Nationwide, the number of laid-off workers who applied for unemployment benefits fell to 1.48 million last week, the 12th straight drop and a sign that layoffs are slowing but are still at a painfully high level.
The Associated Press reports the steady decline in claims suggests that the job market has begun to heal from the pandemic, which shuttered businesses and sent the unemployment rate up to 14.7% in April, its highest level since the Great Depression.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)