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SD Makes Unemployment Harder Amidst Pandemic; Unemployed Outnumber Job Listings

No more coronavirus excuses: as the feds cut off the $600 unemployment checks that have been helping millions of out-of-work Americans survive the pandemic recession, South Dakota is restoring is work-search requirements for folks on unemployment. Starting Saturday, August 1, folks getting those reduced unemployment checks will have to resume submitting to Pierre evidence that they’ve looked for at least two jobs each week. “Looking” means “submitting a job application online or in-person, attending a job interview, or participating in a DLR-approved reemployment services program, such as a job search workshop.”

Secretary of Labor and Regulation Marcia Hultman says South Dakota has all sorts of jobs to look for:

“Our SDWORKS jobs database at has over 19,000 listings to search,” said Secretary Hultman. “Employment specialists can meet with you virtually to help navigate the system and determine the best fit based on your needs, interests and experience” [South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, press release, 2020.07.23].

At last count there were 18,722 individuals with continued claims for unemployment benefits. But according to DLR’s stats, there are 33,471 South Dakotans out of work. So South Dakota is about 14,000 jobs short of giving everyone something to do for pay.


  1. Owen 2020-07-27

    I lost my job to the virus so I know what I’m talking about. Trump says that people aren’t looking for work because they make more on unemployment That’s true but what hasn’t been said is that when people lose their job they lose health insurance as well. This is where the ACA comes in. I have a high deductible plan to make it as cheap as possible. Plus I’m only on a single plan, not a family plan.
    I believe people want to find a job but for one thing the jobs aren’t out there and two the jobs out there pay minimum wage or a little more. Of course people are going to wait and find a better job.
    Most people know, as well, that the extra money will end either now or in a few months.
    Finally if people are not looking for work because of the extra $600 than maybe the problem is that employers aren’t paying enough. Haven’t heard much on that as well.

  2. jerry 2020-07-27

    Owen, you pretty much nailed it on the health insurance as well. One thing that I see is that the “extra” 600.00 was really designed to be spent to stimulate the economy or whatever the hell there is left of it. Democrats understand the reasoning behind stimulation of the economy, republicans only understand lining their own pockets with tax cuts.

  3. Donald Pay 2020-07-27

    Owen nailed it.

    Hultman also points up the hypocrisy involved when he says, “Employment Specialists can meet with you remotely….’ So, state employees get to do their job remotely while recommending the unemployed take jobs in death traps. Look, people want to work, but not if it means they end up dead or their loved ones do.

  4. grudznick 2020-07-27

    I am sure that Mr. Owen is a very hard worker. We need to get fellows like him back into jobs the covid bugs can’t take away. Governor Noem announced a new program called Skill It Up to give out free online degrees from the VoTechs.

  5. jerry 2020-07-27

    Mr. grudznick, what vocation does your governor think would be best suited for the masses? How many employers in the state are up to hiring a couple thousand new employees? With a glut of workers in those fields, doesn’t it make sense to pay them less?

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-07-27

    Owen, I just heard Senator Jim Bolin crying about that same thing, complaining that since “we’re not a wealthy state” (dang—I guess Kristi Noem’s economic development still isn’t working), those darn government checks are far too tempting to people who make more money on coronavirus assistance than on the job. Like everyone else, he ignores the value of health insurance and other benefits provided by employment. He also ignores the value of being on the job, the experience and skills and seniority gained, the far greater stability and opportunity of having a job on one’s résumé. To suggest that one is better off on a government check than holding a job is a terribly short-sighted critique from Republicans who only want government checks to go to war contractors and other GOP cronies. Owen and almost everybody else wants a solid job; coronavirus makes solid jobs impossible for many people. It then falls to society to make sure all those good people can eat and take care of their families until we invent and distribute a vaccine and right the economic ship.

  7. jerry 2020-07-27

    Maybe Bolin can tell us all who is hiring besides Smithfield and the other meat packing covid hot spots.

    “Mr Humberston says those fears are misplaced. He says he has applied for dozens of jobs in his home state of Oregon with no luck and the real problem is that employers are afraid to hire because of the pandemic.

    “I mean, find what job? That’s the thing – there are no jobs around, no jobs anywhere.”

    US employers have cut nearly 15 million positions since February. That’s despite strong hiring in May and June, when lockdowns eased and business received payroll support from the government.

    That money is drying up and as virus cases surge, a second wave of layoffs is starting.

    Companies announcing cuts last week included LinkedIn, Nike and Dow chemical company. Many smaller businesses are also cutting back.”

    Bolin and his crew have failed South Dakota completely.

  8. grudznick 2020-07-27

    Mr. jerry, it does seem a bit of a buyer’s market. Job seekers should probably be polishing up, and working harder than ever, or they’ll get replaced with shinier pennies.

  9. Laurisa 2020-07-27

    It’s been eleven years now, but I still remember how humiliating it was to be on unemployment in this state. I had no problem at all with the looking for work requirement, (I would usually submit far more than the required two applications a week) I wanted desperately to find a job in or close to my field, or something similar. I had a good education and experience.

    But I also lived in a rural area, on a reservation in fact (at that time, it was Standing Rock), and decent jobs were few and far between. That’s very true of most rural areas, not just reservations. Fortunately, my husband had a good job and we had the resources for me to be able to take a distant job. But there were more than enough qualified local residents for those jobs, and I often didn’t even get considered.

    Then came the really upsetting thing. I got a call from the state unemployment office saying that they’d been unable to verify one of the applications I’d submitted the previous week (it turned out that that employer hadn’t fully logged their submissions at the time of the verification call). In talking to the (snotty, near-hostile) state employee, I discovered that they called every single one of the places I’d listed as where I’d submitted applications to verify the submission each and every week. Having been on a hiring in a previous position, and knowing what I know of HR, I knew that such verification calls didn’t make me look good and was probably one reason why I was still on unemployment (which, to reiterate, I hated and 98 percent of everyone I’ve ever known on unemployment has felt that way). It’s a variation of the old catch-22 of needing experience to get a job, but being unable to get a job without experience. I needed a job to get off unemployment, but being on unemployment made it difficult to get a job. It shouldn’t be that way.

    This state makes it really hard for the unemployed, (even the professional higher earner on unemployment) and lower-paid workers and, despite all the worker’s efforts, finds endless ways to twist things so as to always blame the workers and canonize business no matter what. Libertarian BS horse hockey taken to the extreme and keeping the state down, South Dakota’s specialty. And how many state citizens will suffer, and what will happen to our economy, because of it?

  10. grudznick 2020-07-27

    Ms. Laurisa, can you contrast your experience on unemployment in South Dakota to any experiences you’ve had on unemployment in North Dakota, or perhaps Nebraska? It might be enlightening to all of the bloggers.

  11. jerry 2020-07-27

    There are no jobs and it doesn’t matter how hard you shine your penny, it’s still a penny and not worth squat…unless you’re on the kill floor and we can see how that is working out in Sioux Falls.

  12. Wade Brandis 2020-07-27

    So, Laurisa, what you’re saying is that HR passes on candidates who are on unemployment and instead goes for candidates who are first time job seekers or not on unemployment? That sounds so backward. One would think that verification calls made to potential employers could boost your chance of getting a job. You can only claim benefits if you were laid off from a previous job without any fault of your own.

    What is the reasoning behind this backwards thinking?

  13. Laurisa 2020-07-27

    Grudz, I’ve also lived in Ohio and the experience there was different. You are still required to report at least two employment applications per week, but they don’t have people in the department specifically for verifying every application. You reported in each week to certify that you’d submitted at least two applications and that any work you did that week didn’t exceed the limit of what you could earn and still be eligible for unemployment that week. They had fraud checks, of course, but I’m not sure of the criteria used to trigger one. Now, that was quite awhile ago so I’m not sure if that’s still how things are done.

  14. jerry 2020-07-27

    If you are experienced for the job, you will want more money. If you’re entry level, then they get you for minimum

  15. Laurisa 2020-07-27

    Wade, I’m not saying that every single employer does that. But for those who do, their reasoning appears to be that those on unemployment are probably either desperate for employment and will bail for a better/different job as soon as they find one, or are only applying because they’re required to do so under unemployment rules.
    What Noem and too many other Republicans are refusing to recognize is just what Kerry is saying, there really are very few jobs right now and extreme be competition for the jobs that are available. They think that if people can’t find jobs that’s it’s their own fault, no matter how solid their experience or how hard they’ve tried.

  16. grudznick 2020-07-27

    Mr. jerry, life rewards those who become educated and those who work harder. The covid bugs have not changed that reality. Shine your penny more.

  17. jerry 2020-07-27

    For the last 50 years, hard work and education don’t mean a thing. We have a gig economy or did have, in which there are several well educated folks that were waiting tables and damn glad to have that third job to support their family’s. Sober up Mr. grudznick, your kind of thinking is why you imbibe.

  18. grudznick 2020-07-27

    Seems to me that 50 years ago education and hard work was where it was all at. It helps to be respectful and kind to people, too, and not call them names and such. Not that you do that, Mr. jerry, you seem a pretty swell fellow and have always been respectful, so I hope you get a gig soon.

  19. jerry 2020-07-27

    50 years ago there was Vietnam, what a gig. Yes, I rarely, if even then, call anyone a name that doesn’t fit them in a most respectful way.

    There are no jobs, educated or non educated. The best way to have jobs is to make jobs and that should be what the 1.25 BILLION does, instead of whizzing it to the wind. Think of the great jobs that Cory etched out regarding healthcare and contact information on those infected. To be able to provide testing. A whole army of public health workers that got paid a terrific wage along with benefits. Even someone with a very narrow mind could see the benefit of this right Mr. grudznick?

  20. grudznick 2020-07-27

    It does take wide minded fellows, like you and me, to see that with the 1.25 billion dollars we could have hired 50,000 of your army of health workers who cost, with the salaries and the benefits, $250,000 a year. Or at least that much until the end of the year, then they’d all have to go on unemployment I suppose. They could tromp about, prying into people’s business, and suckling at the teat of big government. We’d have the biggest group on the public doles anywhere.

  21. jerry 2020-07-27

    No, Mr. grudznick, we would have the most educated work force ever. They would have on the job training and that is more important than what you can learn sitting on your tush in a classroom. Also, what we would have would be a few thousand new career choices that would provide service to the citizens here as well as providing them with healthcare.

    Keep in mind with that money that my tax dollars provided, we would also have the personal protective gear including N95 masks, gowns for our healthcare providers and testing kits along with the computers that will document it all in instant readings to the healthcare professionals (those highly educated rascals) that will process it all.

    BTW as a conservative, you do know that you don’t have to spend all the money at one sitting, you can utilize this over the long term as this is a long term battle with Covid.

  22. Moses6 2020-07-28

    Jerry I wonder if Grud understands what you said, great job.

  23. Jake 2020-07-28

    Meanwhile, our governor wastes millions paying Highway Patrol salaries and bogus tourism money out ot Federal covid funds. These items were already budgeted for in our legislature, but she’s so used to suckling off the Federal teat she can’t see anything but. SD GOP has used Federal funding instead of being leaders and developing a state tax system fair to all. Seems all taxes have to be paid with income but income can’t be taxed! The GOP lays around the hog trough hoping for more slop (dollars from Fed treasury) to get thrown in to use.

  24. Richard Schriever 2020-07-28

    grudz – what color is YOUR penny? Bright and shiny, or dull and worn down?

  25. grudznick 2020-07-28

    Mr. Schriever, my money is green. I don’t truck around with coinage.

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