The latest jobs report South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation shows a drop in initial unemployment claims along with a slight increase in continued claims.

The state processed 542 initial unemployment claims for the week ending Feb 13. That's down by 104 from last week.

Before the pandemic, South Dakota was averaging between 200 to 300 weekly jobless claims. When COVID-19 began ramping up last March, claims skyrocketed into the thousands when 'non-essential' businesses were forced to close.

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As the market began to recover in the Fall, jobless claims have settled in between 300 to 900 per week. State officials told Dakota News Now that claims will continue to fluctuate as long as COVID-19 is impacting the economy.

Continued unemployment claims, or the number of workers who are consecutively receiving unemployment benefits, were nearly flat, only rising by 61 to 5,640.

Nationwide, initial claims came in much higher than expected. The latest report from the Labor Department shows that 861,000 Americans lost their job for the week ending Feb 13. That's about 13,000 more claims than last week, but much higher than the 765,000 expected by economists, Fox Business reports.

4.49 million workers were eligible to receive a continued unemployment claim, a drop of about 64,000 from the previous week.

Fox Business says more than 70 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March of last year.

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