New unemployment claims in South Dakota continue to drop as the Department of Labor processed 3,410 initial weekly claims for the period between May 17 and May 23.  Dakota News Now reports that's a decrease of 481 from the prior week.

Even though claims are down for two weeks in a row, the overall number of South Dakota unemployment claims filed since the COVID-19 related shutdowns, have never been higher.  Over 50,000 initial weekly unemployment claims have been made since mid-March.

On a typical week, the state processes between 200 to 300 initial claims.

The number of continued claims, the amount of unemployed people who are eligible to receive benefits after their initial claim, stands at 25,186 for the week ending May 9.

The state has paid out over $4 million in benefits and another $12.6 million has been paid out from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, according to Dakota News Now.

State Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman told Dakota News Now, “On Tuesday, Governor Noem signed Executive Order 2020-26 to extend the existing COVID-19 State of Emergency to Dec. 30, 2020. This means both the non-paid waiting week and work search requirement set to expire May 31 will continue to be waived until further notice.”

Nationwide, another 2.1 million people filed initial unemployment claims last week.  The total number of workers who have filed initial claims is near 41 million since the pandemic layoffs began.

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