South Dakota unemployment claims down; still higher than normal

(MGN Photo)

Unemployment claims in South Dakota dropped substantially, but they are still remain much higher than normal as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue.

A total of 3,806 initial weekly claims for unemployment benefits were processed last week, according to the South Dakota Department of Labor.

Last week's total is over 1,400 fewer than the week before. In the early weeks of the pandemic, claims reached as high as 7,900. On average week, the state generally process 200-300 claims.

Officials say a total of $4.7 million was paid out in state benefits, in addition to $13.7 million paid out in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits. The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund balance May 17 was $99.3 million.

The latest number of continued claims is 23,388 for the week ending May 2. According to the Department of Labor, this indicates the number of unemployed workers eligible for and receiving benefits after their initial claim.

“We have been seeing increased numbers of claimants not completing the weekly request for benefit payment,” said state Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman. “Please be sure to answer all questions correctly and hit ‘submit.’”

South Dakota has processed roughly 47,000 unemployment assistance claims since mid-March when the effects of the shut down due to COVID-19 began hitting businesses.

Nationwide, more than 2.4 million people applied for unemployment assistance last week.