South Dakota unemployment numbers dropped a little from last week but still remain historically high.

A total of 649 initial weekly claims were processed by the Department of Labor and Regulation for the week ending Jan 16. That's a decrease of 336 from last week when the state hit a recent high of 985.

Continued claims filed by the state for the week ending Jan 9 is 5,662. That is a decrease of 537 from last week's total of 6,199. Continued claims represent the number of unemployed workers who are eligible for and receiving benefits after their initial claim.

South Dakota paid out a total of $1.1 million in state benefits and another $1.1 million in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation. The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund balance was $158.7 million on Jan. 17. The state has paid a total of $332.5 million in benefits since March 16, 2020.

Nationally, another 900,000 Americans lost their job for the week ending Jan 16. This number is lower than the 910,000 analysts were expecting but is still about 4 times higher than pre-pandemic levels according to Fox Business.

Continued claims came in at 5.054 million, a decline of about 127,000 from the last report.

Nearly 70 million Americans have filed an initial unemployment claim since mid-March 2020.

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