The following numbers are hard to my head around, especially in South Dakota.

In an effort to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, many South Dakota businesses have closed.  This has caused an expected and dramatic spike in unemployment benefits claims in the state.

On Thursday morning, the South Dakota Department of Labor released the latest unemployment numbers.  Dakota News Now reports claims jumped nearly 900% during the week of March 15-21.

Last week, 1,703 claims for unemployment benefits were filed.  That's an increase of 1,513 over the prior week's total of only 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.

Things aren't any better on the national front.  The latest U.S. jobs report showed nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week.  That's 5 times higher than the previous record set in 1982.

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