COVID-19 and its associated impacts leave the unemployment rates for Hughes and Stanley counties at more than double what they were at this time last year.

Although South Dakota’s 7% jobless rate is not as high as those seen in many states that saw governors impose “shelter-in-place” orders, it is still more than twice the 3.2% metric of July 2019.

Now, South Dakota Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman is warning those who have been collecting unemployment benefits that if they have not been searching for a job, they had better start looking. Hultman said her department waived the requirement that workers filing for unemployment must actively search for work to be eligible for benefits on March 21.

This waiver is set to expire Saturday, Aug. 1.

“Businesses are returning to normal and in need of quality applicants,” Hultman said. “We have many employment services and education and training programs to help find new work and connect with great opportunities in South Dakota.”

Hultman said unemployment claimants will be required to verify that at least two work searches occurred each week when requesting their weekly benefit payment, effective the week ending Saturday, Aug. 8 and after.

Examples of qualified work search activities, according to Hultman, include submitting a job application online or in-person, attending a job interview, or participating in a state-approved reemployment services program, such as a job search workshop.

“Employment specialists can meet with you virtually to help navigate the system and determine the best fit based on your needs, interests and experience,” Hultman said, adding there are more than 19,000 jobs listed at https://www.southdakotaworks.org/vosnet/Default.aspx.

Hultman also said those who had been receiving an additional $600 per week from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation are no longer going to get it, as this will officially expire on Saturday.

New Unemployment Claims Filed During Each Week Of The COVID-19 Pandemic, According to South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation:

March 14: 190

March 21: 1,703

March 28: 6,645

April 4: 7,916

April 11: 6,152

April 18: 5,128

April 25: 5,389

May 2: 3,756

May 9: 5,131

May 16: 3,806

May 23: 3,410

May 30: 1,445

June 6: 817

June 13: 1,006

June 20: 857

June 27: 576

July 4: 799

July 11: 1,160

July 18: 698

July 25: 753

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