State unemployment rate climbs again

State unemployment rate climbs again The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that South Dakota's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in January 2009 compared to the December 2008 rate of 3.7 percent. According to BLS data, South Dakota's seasonally adjusted jobless rate has not been at the January level since December 1987. State Labor Secretary Pam Roberts says South Dakota's unemployment rate remains well below the national rate of 7.6 percent.  But she said the climb in January is another indication that the recession is deeply affecting South Dakota.  "This increase indicates our state economy continues to be greatly impacted by the national recession," Roberts said.? The BLS Web site's historical database, which dates to 1976, shows the highest seasonally adjusted jobless rate for South Dakota was 5.9 percent in October 1982.  The unemployment rate represents the number unemployed as a percent of the labor force.  People are classified as unemployed if they do not have jobs, have actively looked for work in the prior four weeks and are currently available for work.  People who were not working and were waiting to be recalled to jobs from which they were temporarily laid off are also included as unemployed.  The number of initial unemployment insurance claims in January was 4,022; that reflects a reduction of 15.8 percent compared to 4,780 claims in the previous month. The over-the-year comparison shows an increase of 73.3 percent between the 4,022 initial claims in January 2009 and the January 2008 level of 2,321.  Corresponding with the continued increase in the unemployment rate, the not-seasonally adjusted level of nonfarm wage and salaried jobs in South Dakota dropped to 398,800 in January 2009.   "Most of the nonfarm job losses were centered within the manufacturing, mining and construction, and professional and business services industry sectors," said Labor Secretary Roberts.  The drop equates to a loss of 800 workers (or 0.2 percent) compared to the level of 399,600 workers in January 2008.  An overview of the labor market, latest data releases and snapshot of South Dakota's economy are available through the Department of Labor's e-Labor Bulletin.  The next release date is March 11.  To view or subscribe, visit

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