Jobless claims are down but SD unemployment hits 10 percent

PIERRE, S.D. (KEVN/KOTA TV) - South Dakota's unemployment rate for April soared to more than 10 percent; but recently, the number of people filing initial unemployment claims has dropped.

As South Dakota's unemployment rate climbs to 10 percent, the hardest hit are people who work in the leisure and hospitality industries. (MGN)

During the week of May 10-16, there were 3,806 initial weekly claims for unemployment benefits. This is 1,463 fewer claims than the previous week’s total of 5,269.

In April, the last full month of data, South Dakota had a 10.2 percent unemployment rate with 48,100 people out of work. That was a 236 percent hike over March when the state's rate was just 3.2 percent (14,300 people).

"I've used this term before, but it's historic in the very worst way," Gov. Kristi Noem said. "I think it could be record unemployment numbers for the state of South Dakota ... since the Great Depression."

Across the country, more than 2.4 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week. Roughly 38.6 million people have now filed for jobless aid since the coronavirus forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink their work forces.

South Dakota has paid out $4.7 million 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.