Josh Haiar / SDPB

Government payments to unemployed South Dakotans during the pandemic have surpassed $300 million.

That’s happened in just the past six months. South Dakota Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman said it’s a historic figure.

“To put that in perspective, that $300 million is more than we’ve paid out in the last decade in benefits," Hultman told the state's Workforce Development Council on Wednesday.

SD Banking Commission

Governor Kristi Noem says South Dakota has recovered most of the jobs it’s lost during the pandemic, but an analyst for the FDIC has different numbers.

Two weeks ago, Noem tweeted that South Dakota has regained 80 percent of its job losses.

Josh Haiar / SDPB

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. 

Josh Haiar / SDPB

During the pandemic, South Dakotans haven’t had to look for work while receiving unemployment benefits. 

But that could change by August. 

News: May 16 - 22

May 22, 2020

The nation's unemployment rate is around 15%, “2020 Homeless Count” numbers are in, Rapid City sees an uptick in COVID-19 cases, tribes maintain sovereignty regarding their checkpoints, and CFAP provides up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America's farmers and ranchers.  

Neel Kashkari: The Unemployment Rate

May 18, 2020

In The Moment … May 18, 2020 Show 819 Hour 1

The recent release of the April jobs report put the nation's unemployment rate at 14.7% and showed a loss of 20.5 million jobs during the month. Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, fears that the unemployment rate is understated and that the real number is much more devastating. Neel Kashkari was a virtual guest for last week's Morning Fill Up hosted by Matt Ehlman of the Numad Group. 


Unemployment benefits paid to South Dakotans have totaled $87.8 million since the pandemic began affecting the state’s economy in mid-March. 

That’s according to Marcia Hultman, the head of the state Department of Labor and Regulation. 

“Eight weeks ago it was like a light switch was flipped, and claims instantly – and to a degree never before seen – began to hit our system,” Hultman said. 

Morning Macro: Unusual Times For The US Economy

Apr 27, 2020

In The Moment ... April 27, 2020 Show 804 Hour 1

Unexpected. Unprecedented. Uncharted. Unconventional. We are living in unusual times and that means it's pretty hard to figure out what the future looks like, especially with the U.S. economy.  Joe Santos is the professor of economics and Dykhouse Scholar of Money, Banking, and Regulation in the Ness School of Management and Economics at SDSU. You can find his blog online at schooleddotblog.com. 

Josh Haiar / SDPB

It’s taking several weeks for some South Dakotans to obtain unemployment benefits. 

The state Department of Labor and Regulation reports about 75 percent of the people who file for unemployment get their benefits in a matter of days. 

But Department Secretary Marcia Hultman said it takes the other 25 percent of people four weeks or more. 

The state fund that helps unemployed workers is paying out millions of dollars every week, and the fund could need help by the end of the year. 

At the end of February, before the coronavirus was detected in South Dakota, the balance in the state’s Unemployment Trust Fund was $132 million.  

Josh Haiar/SDPB

For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, unemployment claims were down last week in South Dakota. 

But the trend isn’t expected to last. 

Josh Haiar/SDPB

New claims for unemployment benefits continue to rise in South Dakota as the coronavirus spreads. 

There were 7,916 unemployment filings in South Dakota last week. It was the third consecutive week of record claims from pandemic-related job losses.  

State residents have filed a total of more than 16,000 unemployment claims since the pandemic’s impact on the economy first showed up in the numbers during mid-March. 

Josh Haiar/SDPB

For the second week in a row, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing a record number of South Dakotans onto unemployment rolls. 

There were 6,645 claims for unemployment assistance filed last week in South Dakota. That’s the most-ever in the available data from the U.S. Department of Labor, which goes back to 1987. 

News Special: Veto Day & Pandemic Impacts

Mar 31, 2020

In this In the Moment news special, we hear a recap of South Dakota's first digital Veto Day and the actions brought up to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, the impacts of the pandemic on the legal world, the South Dakota economy, med students, and more. 

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News: Mar 21 - 27

Mar 27, 2020

Nearly an 800% increase in unemployment claims, Governor Noem issues an executive order, schools around South Dakota adjust to online learning, and more in this week's "In the Moment" news podcast. 

Josh Haiar/SDPB

The coronavirus pandemic has driven unemployment claims to all-time highs in the state and nation.  

Last week, 1,703 people filed claims for unemployment assistance in South Dakota. That’s almost nine times more than the previous week, when there were 190 claims. 

Unemployment Claims Jump

Mar 26, 2020

In The Moment ... March 26, 2020 Show 782 Hour 1

SDPB brings you the latest on coronavirus in South Dakota. You can find all our reporting on the website SDPB.org/covid. Today we look at South Dakotans out of work. SDPB's Seth Tupper joins us with more.

State of South Dakota

Governor Kristi Noem said the state is adding more staff and phone lines to its unemployment call center because of increased claims resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Measuring Unemployment in South Dakota

Jul 24, 2019
South Dakota Department of Labor & Regulation

The unemployment rate is the most common number measurement of a healthy job market, and employers also use it to determine the number of available workers.  But officials at the South Dakota Department of Labor say that number does not tell the whole story.

Marcia Hultman is the Cabinet Secretary for the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation.  She says unemployment involves more than one number, and there is a big misconception about what the unemployment rate measures.


In The Moment ... July 23, 2019 Show 621 Hour 2

Unemployment in South Dakota is at a low 2.8%. But, does that number tell the entire story?

South Dakota Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman has been giving "workforce landscape" presentations across the state for about two years, sharing insights into South Dakota's economy.

In The Moment ... April 29, 2019 Show 564 Hour 1

Do you ever feel like economic forces are conspiring to keep you from getting ahead?

Joe Santos is back for this week's Morning Macro - a crash course in economic literacy.

Santos discusses the revolution in macroeconomic policy that impacts wage growth and unemployment rates even today.

Slower Growth Ahead

Jun 1, 2015
Creighton University

"Slower Growth Ahead for Mid-America Region: Job Losses for May" is the business index headline for the latest survey of Ernie Goss, Creighton University MacAllister Chair in Economics.  Goss joined guest host Cara Hetland on Monday's Dakota Midday and said the news isn't all bad.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The federal government is directing $250,000 to South Dakota to help people with food or shelter in emergencies. That is the same amount the state usually receives from FEMA. The grant money can be used for problems housing and food problems that aren’t related to disasters.

FEMA distributes Emergency Food and Shelter Program money based on a state’s current unemployment, food insecurity and poverty data. In South Dakota, that equates to the minimum amount FEMA can provide a state.

United States Senator John Thune is debating unemployment insurance on Wednesday in Washington DC.  Thune says the Senate is not tackling the unemployment problem the way it should.

Thune says it’s important to look at what’s causing unemployment rather than just grooming those affected, back to health.

April Unemployment Figures

May 20, 2013

South Dakota Labor Secretary Pam Roberts talked about the extended unemployment and labor statistics for April which were made available last week.

South Dakota Unemployment

Sep 26, 2012

Douglas Hall of the Economic Policy Institute is the author of a new report released yesterday called "The State of Working South Dakota 2012."  The report shows South Dakota's unemployment rate as better than other states around the country.  However, Hall says the rate is actually double what it was when the recession started.  Because of a growing population, he says South Dakota has to add about 11,800 jobs to get back to the same place unemployment was when the recession began.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A new report released Tuesday shows South Dakota’s unemployment rate is better than other states around the country, but that doesn’t mean the state is thriving during this economic recession.