Over 5,000 South Dakotans filed for unemployment assistance last week as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on the economy.
The South Dakota Department of Labor received 5,128 unemployment benefit claims between April 12-18, according to Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman.
While still substantially higher than normal, last week claims were down from the previous week's total of 6,359. The largest one-week total is from two weeks prior, when 8,138 filed for unemployment.
Normal weekly unemployment claims hover around 200 in South Dakota.
The shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to tens of thousands of unemployment claims in the state. Over 29,000 people have applied for assistance since the effects of the pandemic took hold in South Dakota in mid-March. That accounts for over 6% of the state's workforce, according to the Department of Labor.
However, not everyone who filed for a claim is still receiving benefits. Hultman said the latest number of continued claims is 14,431 for the week ending April 4. This indicates the number of unemployed workers eligible for and receiving benefits after their initial claim.
A total of $4.3 million was paid out in state benefits, in addition to $9.6 million paid out in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits, according to Hultman. The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund balance April 19 was $115 million.
Nationwide, 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week. Roughly 26 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the five weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began.