PIERRE, S.D. — Weekly unemployment claims for the week ending Saturday, April 11, were down by 1,986 from the prior week in South Dakota.

From April 5 to April 11, a total of 6,152 claims were filed with the state Department of Labor and Regulation, according to a news release.

“Unemployment claimants who have been placed on a temporary layoff related to COVID-19 must return to work if they are called back to remain eligible for benefits,” said state Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman in the release. “However, if a claimant is called back but only working reduced hours, they may continue to file a weekly request for payment to possibly receive a partial benefit.”

Unemployment claims for the week ending April 11 were down nationally as well. According to the U.S. Department of Labor and Regulation, 5.245 million claims were made, a decrease of 1.37 claims from the previous week.

The four straight weeks of eye-popping new jobless claims is a bad sign for the South Dakota economy, which usually sees about 150 such filings a week, said Gov. Kristi Noem on Thursday, April 16.

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She warned to expect another spike of initial unemployment filings next week, once the pandemic unemployment application opens to self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers and those who lost their job due to the coronavirus.

“We’re setting some unfortunate records here,” she said. “To see thousands in a week now is alarming, and I want to warn you, next week will be even worse.”

Noem also warned South Dakotans should brace for the state budget taking big hits from reduced sales tax and video lottery revenue, with initial information pointing to declines of between 20 to 30 percent.

“Other industries have been completely hollowed out,” she said. “We haven’t begun to evaluate what that is, because those reports haven't been filed yet.”

Noem said she expects to have a “pretty clear picture” of the scope of the economic damage in the first week of May as reports are finalized. The reports will tee up a special session of the state Legislature, likely in June, so lawmakers can rework the state’s budget to fit an economy throttled by the coronavirus pandemic, she said.