South Dakota Unemployment Rate Reaches 5 Percent for First Time Since 1985

New unemployment numbers released by the South Dakota Department of Labor quickly doused the short-lived optimism about the economic situation in the Upper Midwest, which had seen historic increases in the jobless rates across the Upper Midwest halt and slightly reverse course in April in four states – South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and North Dakota.

But in May, South Dakota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was back on the rise, hitting 5.0 percent – the highest jobless rate for the state in nearly a quarter century. Jobless claims have not been this high in the Mount Rushmore State since December 1985 and have not been higher since unemployment reached 5.1 percent in August 1983.

Unemployment has not reached the 6.0 percent mark in South Dakota during the past 33+ years according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The increase in unemployment since April 2008 of 2.9 to 5.0 percent means unemployment has risen 2.1 points over the last 12 months – or an increase of 72.4 percent. This marks the second highest 1-year increase on record since 1976.

In fact, the Top 5 largest yearly percentage increases in the state’s jobless rate have all occurred during the first five months of 2009 – a sobering sign of just how unprecedented the current economic crisis is for South Dakotans.

Largest Yearly Proportional Unemployment Increase in South Dakota, 1976-2009

Rank
Period
Percent increase
1
March 2008 – March 2009
75.0
2
May 2008 – May 2009
72.4
3
February 2008 – February 2009
70.4
4
April 2008 – April 2009
65.5
5
January 2008 – January 2009
63.0

Note: Table compiled by Smart Politics with data from the South Dakota Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

With the nation’s jobless rate climbing to 9.4 percent, South Dakota’s unemployment rate is now 4.4 points lower than the country as a whole. This marks the 12th largest percentage point difference in unemployment between South Dakota and the U.S. overall during the past 33+ years (with the largest being 5.0 points in both November and December 1982).

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1 Comment on "South Dakota Unemployment Rate Reaches 5 Percent for First Time Since 1985"

  1. it really sucks that unemployment is so high. i might loose my job due to it as well. life sucks

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