South Dakota's unemployment rate continues to drop as the state's economy is quickly recovering from the pandemic. Thanks to business-friendly state leadership, the unemployment rate in South Dakota is among the lowest in the country. According to Dakota News Now, the rate for Febuary fell to 2.9%, an improvement from 3.1% in January.

The number of intinal unemployement claims remains within pre-pandemic levels according to the latest report from the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation. 248 South Dakotans filed a first-time claim for the week ending March 20. That's down from 107 from last week's total of 355. Before the pandemic, first-time claims averaged between 200 to 300 per week.

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Continued claims, or the number of unemployed workers who are receiving benefits after their initial claim, dropped by 8 to 4,944 for the week ending March 13.

South Dakota paid out $1.2 million in state benefits for the week ending March 20. Around $360.3 million has been paid out since March 16, 2020.

Nationally, initial unemployment claims dropped to the lowest level since last March when state governments forced shutdowns of 'non-essential' businesses, sending a record number of Americans to the unemployment line.

According to Fox Business, 684,000 Americans lost their job last week, down from 781,000 in the prior report. This week's number is still 2.5 times higher than the pre-pandemic average.

Continued claims fell to 3.87 million for the week ending March 13.

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