State government is issuing a new weekly report on coronavirus economic numbers, and Gov. Kristi Noem wants people to get ready for bad news.
“I want to prepare you for the coming days, where we will get numbers that will be shocking to all of you,” Noem said Tuesday during her daily coronavirus media briefing.
The pandemic is still so relatively new that weekly unemployment claims have so far been one of the only ways to measure the economic impact. In South Dakota, more than 16,000 people filed for unemployment benefits during the first three weeks of virus-related job losses.
Now there’s more data about the broader impact of the virus on the South Dakota economy. The state Bureau of Finance and Management is posting a COVID-19 Weekly Economic Dashboard online. A link to the dashboard is available at the state’s COVID-19 page, covid.sd.gov.
This week’s dashboard says, among other things, that statewide travel spending is down 70 percent from the same week last year, the state’s weekly average of video lottery income is down 48 percent from January to March, and statewide job postings are down 10 percent since March 19.
State government depends on sales taxes for much of its revenue. Noem said the state won’t have full data about the pandemic’s impact on that revenue stream until early May, when reports of April sales are published.