Work search waiver to end; local unemployment rate drops

July 24, 2020

Unemployed workers in South Dakota will have to begin searching for a job in August to keep their state jobless benefits.

The state Department of Labor & Regulation waived the requirement March 21 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Claimants receiving benefits will be required to verify at least two work searches occurred each week when requesting their weekly benefit payment starting the week ending Aug. 8.

“Businesses are returning to normal and in need of quality applicants,” Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman said. “We have many employment services and education and training programs to help find new work and connect with great opportunities in South Dakota.”

The state’s job database has more than 19,000 listings, Hultman said.

“Employment specialists can meet with you virtually to help navigate the system and determine the best fit based on your needs, interests and experience,” she said.

Individuals receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance who are self-employed or independent contractors are not required by federal law to conduct work searches and will continue to receive a waiver. Also exempted are individuals with an employer-submitted recall date.

The number of South Dakotans filing new claims for unemployment dropped in a week-over-week comparison, while those continuing to received benefits rose by 2,780, according to a weekly report from the Labor Department.

Initial claims for benefits totaled 698 for the week of July 12, down from 1,216 in the previous week.

The number of continued claims for the most current week available, ending July 4, was 18,722, up from 15,942 the previous week. This indicates the number of unemployed workers eligible for and receiving benefits after their initial claim.

A total of $2.9 million was paid out in state benefits, in addition to $9.8 million in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, $724,000 in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and $99,000 in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits.

More unemployed workers in the Sioux Falls MSA are finding jobs, according to preliminary data released Friday.

The unemployment rate for the Sioux Falls MSA was 6.7 percent in June, compared with 9.5 percent in May. The rate, however, remains higher than a year ago when it was 2.7 percent, according to data from the Labor Market Information Center.

The data, which is not seasonally adjusted, continues to reflect the reopening of businesses that began to close temporarily in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The March unemployment rate was 3 percent.

The Sioux Falls MSA unemployment rate is slightly better than the 7.2 percent rate for South Dakota, which is seasonally adjusted.

That state’s jobless rate also is improving. It was 9.4 percent in May. A year ago, it was 3.3 percent.

There are 33,471 South Dakotans who do not have jobs, have actively looked for one in the past four weeks and are available to work, according to the state’s preliminary report. That’s down from 43,800 last month.

According to the Labor Market Information Center, 10,823 people living in the Sioux Falls MSA, which includes Minnehaha, Lincoln, McCook and Turner counties, were out of work in June. That compares with 4,164 residents a year ago.

In the Sioux Falls MSA, the leisure and hospitality industry continues to see the biggest change. The number of workers employed in that category rose by 24 percent compared with a month ago. The number is down 8.5 percent from a year ago. Retail trade, which had risen 1.3 percent in May, climbed 7.5 percent in June. The number of retail staff is down 8.5 percent from a year ago.

Within the Sioux Falls city limits, the unemployment rate was 7.3 percent, compared with 10.4 percent in June and 2.7 percent a year ago.

Here’s a look at unemployment rates for other cities in June and May:

  • Rapid City, 8.5 percent, down from 11.2 percent.
  • Aberdeen, 8.1 percent, down from 10.2 percent.
  • Brandon, 5.8 percent, down from 7.8 percent.
  • Brookings, 7.2 percent, down from 8.7 percent.
  • Huron, 6.6 percent, down from 6.9 percent.
  • Mitchell, 6.6 percent, down from 8.1 percent.
  • Pierre, 5.5 percent, down from 7.2 percent.
  • Spearfish, 8.5 percent, down from 12.3 percent.
  • Vermillion, 8.4 percent, down from 10.9 percent.
  • Watertown, 7.9 percent, down from 9.8 percent.
  • Yankton, 7.2 percent, down from 9.1 percent.

A year ago, those rates ranged from 2.4 percent to 4 percent.



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Work search waiver to end; local unemployment rate drops

Unemployed workers in South Dakota will have to begin searching for a job in August to keep their state jobless benefits.

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