There is another drop in South Dakota's first-time jobless claims according to the latest data released by the Department of Labor and Regulation.

The state processed 268 initial weekly claims for the week ending April 17. That's a decline of 22 claims from last week's total of 290.

Continued claims also dropped slightly to 3,064 for the week ending April 10. That's a decrease of 74 from last week's total of 3,138. Continued claims are the number of unemployed workers who are eligible for and continuing to receive benefits after their initial claim.

According to the personal finance website WalletHub, initial unemployment claims in South Dakota decreased by 94.94% compared to the same week last year. This was the 2nd biggest decrease in the country.

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South Dakota paid out $723,000 in state benefits for the week ending April 17. The state has paid out around $370.8 million in both state and federal unemployment benefits since March 16, 2020.

Nationally, the number of initial claims is at the lowest since pandemic-related shutdowns of "non-essential" businesses put a record number of Americans out of work.

Fox Business reports that 547,000 Americans lost their jobs and filed an initial unemployment claim in the week ending April 17. That's down from last week's revised total of 586,000 claims. Analysts were expecting 617,000 workers to lose their jobs.

While this week's number is the lowest in about a year, it's still much higher than the typical number of weekly initial claims filed before the pandemic.

Continued claims for the week ending April 10 fell slightly to 3.674 million. Analysts were expecting a lower number of 3.667 million.

Fox Business says that 8 million fewer Americans working now than before the pandemic. According to WalletHub, COVID-19 has wiped out all the job gains since the Great Recession.

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