Statewide unemployment claims skyrocket

March 26, 2020

Initial weekly jobless claims in South Dakota shot up more than 900 percent as employers were forced to shut down because of COVID-19.

During the week of March 15, a total of 1,703 initial weekly claims for unemployment benefits were filed with the state Department of Labor and Regulation. That’s an increase of 1,513 claims over the prior week’s total of 190.

“A large number of employers are announcing COVID-19 related layoffs, so we anticipate the number of new unemployment claims will continue to rise,” said state Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman.


Many variables can affect a worker’s eligibility and an employer’s liability for benefits. Each case is examined on a case-by-case basis. View a list of scenario interpretations about eligibility.

Mayor Paul TenHaken addressed the jump in unemployment during his daily press briefing.

“It’s unsustainable,” he said. “I want you to know those concerns are not lost on me at the city level at all, and the decisions we make are taking that into account.”

It’s expected by the end of day and following votes of the Board of Health and City Council that Sioux Falls will enact mandatory guidelines for certain businesses to limit them to no more than 10 patrons at one time. Those include a bar, restaurant, brewery, cafe, casino, coffee shop, recreational or athletic facility, health club, or entertainment venue.

“We’re doing as much as we can based on the law that’s available to us at the municipal level,” he said.

TenHaken also called on residents to do their part, including not taking family trips to grocery stores and hardware stores.

A better suggestion for spending time today: Complete your U.S. census, he said. That data helps determine a lot of future federal funding.

Find COVID-19 business, event updates here


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Statewide unemployment claims skyrocket

Today’s morning update: S.D. jobless claims shoot up 900 percent. Mayor encourages no family trips to the store

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