Although South Dakota has not yet been hit by the scale of job losses experienced across the nation or the Upper Midwest, the new January numbers released on Friday by the state’s Department of Labor indicate South Dakota, like its neighbor to the east, is experiencing its worst unemployment trend on record.

January 2009’s 4.4 percent seasonally adjusted jobless rate represents the first time unemployment has hit 4 percent in South Dakota in almost 20 years (December 1989) and is the highest rate the state has faced since February 1988.

From December 2008 to January 2009, South Dakota’s unemployment rate rose 0.7 points – the largest increase on record, nearly doubling the second largest month-to-month increase (0.4 points from March to April 1980).

Largest Monthly Percentage Point Increase in South Dakota Unemployment Rate, 1976-2009

Rank
Period
Point change
1
December 2008 – January 2009
0.7
2
March – April 1980
0.4
3
November – December 2008
0.3
3
February – March 1980
0.3
3
May – June 1978
0.3
3
January – February 1977
0.3
3
August – September 1976
0.3

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.

The December 2008 to January 2009 swell in unemployment also marks the largest month-to-month proportional increase on record for the Mount Rushmore State. At 18.9 percent, this represents more than twice the previous monthly proportional jobless increase South Dakotans have experienced in the 33+ years of data compiled on-line by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Largest Monthly Proportional Increase in South Dakota Unemployment Rate, 1976-2009

Rank
Period
Percent Increase
1
December 2008 – January 2009
18.9
2
May – June 1978
9.4
3
March – April 1980
9.3
4
August – September 1976
9.1
5
November – December 2008
8.8
6
January – February 1977
8.1
7
April – May 2000
8.0
8
February – March 1980
7.5
9
October – November 2000
7.1
10
March – April 1995
6.7

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.

The number of jobless claims had been slow but steady throughout most of the past year – rising 0.5 points from January (2.7 percent) through October 2008 (3.2 percent). Since October, however, unemployment has risen a startling 1.2 points in the state, causing South Dakota to endure its largest ever 12-month proportional jobless jump – at 63.0 percent.

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

Rank
Period
Percent Increase
1
January 2008 – January 2009
63.0
2
July 1979 – July 1980
59.4
3
August 1979 – August 1980
56.3
4
September 1979 – September 1980
48.5
4
June 1979 – June 1980
48.5
6
October 1979 – October 1980
44.1
6
May 1979 – May 1980
44.1
8
November 1979 – November 1980
42.9
9
December 1979 – December 1980
38.9
10
December 2007 – December 2008
37.0

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.

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