There was a substantial drop in initial unemployment claims last week as reported by the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation.

For the week of April 18 through 24, a total of 215 initial weekly claims were filed with the state. That is a huge drop of 120 from the last week's total of 335 and falls near the lower end of the average pre-pandemic range of 200 to 300 weekly claims.

There was a positive move in continued claims as well. 2,934 claims were filed for the week ending April 17. That's a decrease of 160 from last week's total of 3,094. Continued claims represent the number of unemployed workers eligible for and still receiving benefits after their initial claim.

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The state paid out $613,000 in benefits for the week ending April 24. Approximately $372.8 million in claims has been paid out in state and federal funds since March 16, 2020.

Nationally, the number of initial weekly claims fell to the lowest mark since March of 2020 when pandemic-related business shutdowns forced millions of Americans out of work. 553,000 Americans lost their jobs and filed an initial weekly claim for the week ending April 24.

While these numbers are a move in the right direction, they are still well above the pre-pandemic average weekly average of 230,000.

Continued claims for the week ending April 17 remained steady at around 3.7 million out of work Americans still receiving unemployment benefits. April 17.

Employers around the country and some here in the Sioux Falls area are saying that they can't find workers. Some unemployed Americans say they fear going back to work and contracting COVID-19. Others have no incentive to work since they are making more on regular unemployment plus the $300 weekly Federal bonus than they did at their old jobs.

Some employers are getting creative and literally paying people to interview. A McDonald's restaurant in Tampa, FL made headlines this week by offering applicants $50 just to interview. Not many people showed up in spite of the cash offer.

Dakota News Now and ClickOrlando contributed to this story.

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