South Dakota had fewer new unemployment claims last week than any other state, and it was the only state with fewer than 1,000 new claims.
The number of new claims in South Dakota was 817. That continues a downward trend since weekly claims peaked at more than 8,000 in early April.
Marcia Hultman leads the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation. During a recent meeting of the state’s Re-Employment Assistance Advisory Council, she said the downward trend in new weekly claims is encouraging.
“It’s still very high,” Hultman said, “but it’s starting to drop, and that should be consistent with businesses opening back up, with employers calling individuals back to work.”
Before the pandemic, people typically filed fewer than 200 new claims for unemployment each week in South Dakota.
New weekly claims shot up to 1,761 during the week that ended March 21 and stayed above 1,000 until last week. The peak was 8,138 claims during the week that ended April 4. That’s the state’s highest number of new weekly claims since the U.S. Department of Labor began reporting the data in the 1980s.
Despite the falling number of new claims, the number of people receiving unemployment benefits in South Dakota is still about 20,000.
Nationally, there were about 1.5 million new unemployment claims last week. About 21 million people in the United States are receiving unemployment benefits.