Initial, continued unemployment claims continue decline in South Dakota

Officials say another 7,500 laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week....
Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 8:20 AM CDT
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South Dakota saw more positive new on the jobs front Thursday as the state economy works to recover amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Both initial and continued unemployment assistance claims continued a downward trend in the Department of Labor's latest jobs report.

Initial unemployment claims fell to near pre-pandemic levels Thursday. The state received 576 initial claims last week, down over 300 from the week before. On a regular week, the state receives 200-300 claims. During the height of the pandemic, over 8,000 claims were submitted in one week.

Continued claims for the week ending in June 13 also fell by nearly 1,500 from the previous week to 17,163. This number reached over 25,000 in early May.

“Claimants are being called back to work or accepting other employment and no longer collecting unemployment benefits, which are meant to be temporary in nature,” said state Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman, via a press release. “Additional benefits under the CARES Act helped bridge the gap between the COVID-19 outbreak and the return to normal.”

A total of $3.5 million was paid out in state benefits, in addition to $10.4 million paid out in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, $771,000 in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and $94,000 in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits.

The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund balance June 30 was $129.9 million.

This comes as new COVID-19 cases in South Dakota have remained roughly flat over the past two weeks, and active cases and hospitalizations have declined. Some states, including Texas and Florida, have been forced to pause their economic recovery plans due to a spike in cases.