SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Unemployment filings skyrocketed for the third straight week in South Dakota as the coronavirus tightens its stranglehold on the state’s economy.

Jobless claims totaled 7,916 for the week ending April 4, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, continuing a record-setting pace.

In the last three weeks combined, 16,478 South Dakotans have filed new claims for unemployment insurance. That’s more than the total of all new filings in the state since December 2018, according to Department of Labor records.

The state’s woes mirror the national situation. Just over 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment in the week ending April 4, adding to the nearly 10 million who filed in the previous two weeks.

Those who take advantage and are eligible for state unemployment benefits will see another boost of financial relief due to the federal government's coronavirus benefits kicking in.

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An additional $600 will be issued by the state Department of Labor and Regulation to all eligible claimants as a result of the CARES Act. The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits went into effect beginning the week of March 29.

No separate filing request is needed for the additional federal benefits payment, but claimants should continue to file regular weekly payment requests through the state, according to a news release from the state Department of Labor.

Payments were issued Thursday, April 9, and should be received by the end of the week, according to state Department of Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman.

If someone quits their job, they cannot continue to receive these benefits.

“Individuals refusing to return to work without a documented medical note consistent with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will be disqualified from all benefits, including the additional $600 weekly payment”, the news release states.

“The additional $600 weekly benefit payment is 100% federally funded,” Hultman said. “An employer’s experience rating account will not be charged or impacted by this additional payment.”

Employers who receive a loan through the Paycheck Protection Act and put workers back on the payroll full time, those workers will no longer be eligible for state unemployment payments or the federal unemployment compensation benefit.