South Dakota's initial weekly claims have dropped below the average pre-pandemic range according to the latest report from the Department of Labor and Regulation.

For the week of May 16-22, the report shows that 197 South Dakotans lost their job and filed an initial weekly claim. That's down 212 claims from last week's revised total of 409. The number of initial claims in a pre-pandemic world was between 200 and 300 per week.

Continued claims dropped but not nearly as much as the first-time claims. 2,447 workers were eligible to receive another check after their initial claim. That's a decrease of 76 from last week's revived total of 2,523.

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The Department of Labor paid out $1,407,000 in combined state and federal CARES Act compensation for the week ending May 22.

On June 26, South Dakota will join 23 other states in ending its participation in the CARES Act unemployment programs, including $300 weekly payments for claimants.

Nationally, initial jobless claims declined again to the lowest level since pandemic-related shutdowns forced a record number of Americans out of work.

The US Labor Department reported that 406,000 Americans lost their jobs for the week ending May 22. That's lower than than the 444,000 that economics was expecting, but still nearly twice as high as the pre-pandemic weekly average.

Continuing claims dropped 96,000 to 3.64 million.

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