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Recession Math: SD Jobless Claims Could Raise Unemployment from 3.8% to 6.7%

South Dakota’s jobless claims jumped last week from 190 to 1,703. Governor Kristi Noem said at her Thursday press conference that our Department of Labor and Regulation Reëmployment Assistance office is now receiving that many unemployment claims each day. [I suggest they might receive more if they hadn’t fouled their Google juice and changed their name, because, seriously, who Googles “reemployment assistance”? Public agencies, stick with the name people know and search!]

What does that mean for our unemployment rate?

Looking at the state’s labor figures, in January, unemployment stood at 3.8%, with 444,399 people working out of a 461,843-person labor force.

Holding those figures steady and ignoring February, we can say that every 4,618 people out of work is another percentage point of unemployment in our state.

If coronavirus caused 1,703 new jobless claims last week, and if we get that many claims each day this week and the two business days of March next week, that’s 11,921 additional South Dakotans out of work.

Just those claims would bring our unemployment rate up to 6.7%.


  1. jerry 2020-03-27

    Add in the reservations and gig economy jobs and you would see the true picture, close to 20 to 25% jobless. Remember, trump does not want the true figures and said so, so the numbers posted, are off by at least half.

  2. John 2020-03-27

    It’s annoying and disingenuous that politicians rarely level with their public. Two states, Vermont & NM cancelled school for the rest of this school year. Two. At least and apparently one of Noem’s 9 “last legislative day” bills sets the stage for cancelling the SD school year. A national college football leader suggests there likely will not be a season.

    Look at the science. Do the math. It’s anticipated a vaccination may be available in 12 months, maybe more. We still do not a quick test for if one carries the antibodies of the virus.

    This nation is leaderless – having no national pandemic policy. Each state, city, county fends for itself in a patchwork of 50 state, 3,200+ counties, and tens of thousands of city whack-a-virus policies. Local flexibility and relaxing standards lead to virus re-emergent outbreaks – such as occurred in Singapore, Taiwan, and even China.

    This virus and its pandemic will not last forever. But it will outlast the US short attention span and juvenile ill-disciplined social practices.

  3. Debbo 2020-03-27

    The GOP anywhere just cannot let go of looking for a political edge. Covid Creep doesn’t invite any Democrats to join in the signing ceremony for the rescue bill, even though he describes it as “bipartisan.”

    Minnesota, known for a functional government, is plagued with a GOP senate whose leader is “troubled” by Gov. Walz shutdown order which begins at midnight tonight.

    The ones still holding public office just cannot seem to grasp the concept of “common good.” The decent Republicans either quit the very sick party entirely or quit elected office. I give credit to those who are agitating for good governance on the part of the GOP.

  4. Donna K 2020-03-27

    Noem needs to be impeached!!!!

  5. o 2020-03-28

    I am trying to understand the newest corporate bailout. If the federal money is to go to companies to allow them to get people back to work (and allow those people to reinvigorate the economy with spending), then shouldn’t the unemployment rate drop DRASTICALLY when corporations get those checks?

    I suppose my question is really one of posing are corporations good actors in the spirit of this help? Will business recall workers to the payroll — even if those employees are not “working?” OR will business use this money to prop up profit lost and let the government (through unemployment insurance) take care of employees put our of work?

    Debbo’s comment above about the lack of “common good” really resonates with me. Our businesses will use “common good” as a justification for their handouts, then once received, those funds quickly become about self-elevation.

    In my arm chair presidenting, I would like to have seen ALL trading on the stock market frozen; all companies retain value as coronavirus hit. Then any company that laid off workers would be opened back up to public trading. Then allow bailout money to those corporations under th umbrella of frozen trading protection. A crisis like this must put large actors to the test of being either with society or against society.

  6. bearcreekbat 2020-03-28

    o, I too thought about a policy of freezing or stopping all trading on the stock market. But what about those people that rely on their ability to sell stock for their income, such as retirees without pensions? Wouldn’t this freeze work the same way for these people as closing banks would for others by denying them access to the funds needed to pay for necessities for day to day survival, such a groceries, medicine, rent, utilities, etc? Indeed, wouldn’t a freeze also affect pension funds that rely on the ability to sell stock investments to pay pensions, like the SD Retirement program, by causing them to lose the ability to meet the needs of pensioners if interest and dividends shrank to an insufficient level to meet pension obligations?

  7. o 2020-03-28

    bearcreekbat, good question. I thought about that a little. 1) I would say that those folks are getting WRECKED by having to sell stock in free-fall markets, so freezing locks in their value (albeit that also does cut their access to that frozen value). Selling in a crashed market means that those retirees would be cutting the term of their savings to a much shorter term. 2) I would then treat those affected like we treat the unemployed – people that do not have access to income, and I would make that group a target of financial assistance. No matter what steps/strategy/philosophy, I think there MUST be some federal bailout/emergency step-in to address a crisis of this magnitude. Maybe a program of 0% mandatory default loans were people could borrow against their stock holdings to then default the stock back after trading is restated?

  8. bearcreekbat 2020-03-28

    o, I like the idea of some equivalent to U/I benefits for qualifying pension dependent individuals, assuming adequate temporary payments could solve the day to day survival issue. And treating thse temporary payments as interest free loans to be repaid only once the market stabilizes and is reopened seems fair.

  9. mike from iowa 2020-03-28

    Congress made no bones about it, us citizens on the low end of the feed trough get a ONE TIME ONLY bailout and now Congress is sniffing around a bank bailout, just in case.

  10. o 2020-03-28

    And of course, banks are in trouble again because Clinton repealed Glass-Steagall so EVERY bank is an investment bank and tied to the stock market.

    Fooled me once . . .

  11. Moses6 2020-03-28

    Hello there, Dodd Frank bill
    wake up.The party just beginning folks and you get to watch it live on your Toshiba television. Lets us hope the market does not crash an the dollar folds like a cheap suit.Always remember when capitolism gets in trouble it needs socialism to save it but can it this time.

  12. mike from iowa 2020-03-28

    Since the passage of Dodd-Frank, many Republicans have called for a partial or total repeal of Dodd-Frank. On June 9, 2017, The Financial Choice Act, legislation that would “undo significant parts” of Dodd-Frank, passed the House 233–186. … On May 24, 2018, President Trump signed the partial repeal into law.

  13. jerry 2020-03-28

    So after some get a check for $1,200.00 bucks, then what? How is that gonna pay the rent, food, toilet paper, car payment, utilities, etc? What kind of sick joke is this? Still no jobs for those that had 3 and 4 jobs… Democrats will need to put another 5 trillion in loan forgiveness, rent payments and the like. Remember, America does not go into home ownership anymore, we rent.

  14. Debbo 2020-03-28

    Per Robert Reich, Marmalade Mobster included a “signing statement” with the rescue bill saying he won’t allow an IG to manage the $500 billion.

    Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer fought hard to keep that $ out of his grubby little fingers. That was one of the biggest sticking points.

    The question isn’t IF. It’s How Many Billions will end up in his accounts?

  15. o 2020-03-28

    jerry, I can see the next “housing” crisis forming from your view of rent payments. 1) People cannot pay rent, 2) renters (and the corporations invested in rental income – like the Kushners) lose income, 3) a YUGE bailout for the rental industry is pushed through Congress and gets daddy-in-law’s signature, 4) all funning for that bailout goes to the owners – none to the renters, so owners and made whole and renters are evicted. Maybe some bonus rhetoric on “boot straps” to justify no more money going to “deadbeat individuals” who made “poor decisions” on their rentals.

    I didn’t like this show the first time I saw it.

  16. jerry 2020-03-28

    Correct o, there are some yuuuge funds invested heavily in the rental market. Well over 100 million Americans rent their homes from Wall Street hedge funds. So take those well over 100 million that get a check for even $2,400.00 and it will only cover a month’s rent that they are already in the arrears on.

    5 trillion more just to start. Here is a report from a year ago and since then, it has only ballooned further. This balloon is gonna pop sooner than we think. Both residential and commercial rental and leased property is about to have an anvil drop on its melon. What will happen when over 100 million renters are on the street?

  17. grudznick 2020-03-28

    grudznick is about ready to just get this flu and beat it down with my stout constitution. I suggest others do the same. Then we’re immune and can go to breakfast.

  18. Donald Pay 2020-03-28


    Go right ahead. Write your will first.

  19. jerry 2020-03-28

    Virus deaths now 2,000 doubling in 2 days. These are the ones we know of, probably about 1/3 or so of the real number. Dead men don’t talk and are dead so they are not tested.

  20. jerry 2020-03-28

    Good idea Mr. Pay, about the will. Also, make sure that you and your spouse or significant other, are both keen on how the finances are done and how to pay the bills. Some have one do all the bill paying and while a good idea, in times like these, both need to know how to make that all happen.

  21. mike from iowa 2020-03-29

    Must read article shows how the poor 1% got tax breaks lavished upon themselves and can use depreciation going back to 2018 taxes to wipe out any taxes they may have owed and then they can live tax free again.

    In effect, this boondoggle will damage the economy with less tax revenues and cost billions more than the 2 trillion price tag, imho.

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