The South Dakota Department of Labor released new unemployment numbers Wednesday for the month of June – numbers which solidify the past twelve months as the worst stretch in modern history for the Mount Rushmore State’s job market, according to available Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data going back to 1976.

The state’s jobless rate increased from 5.0 percent in May to 5.1 percent in June – a modest increase, but large enough to mark the past 12 months as the both the highest net and percentage rate of increase in unemployment in more than three decades of BLS data.

From June 2008 to June 2009, the state’s unemployment rate increased 2.2 percentage points – the highest on record during a 12-month period. South Dakota has tied or broken the previous 28+ year old record from July 1979 to July 1980 five times already in 2009. (The March 2008 – March 2009 and May 2008 – May 2009 periods saw increases of 2.1 percentage points each).

The recent June-to-June stretch also sets a record for the largest rate of increase during a one-year period (drawing from 1976+ available BLS data). Over the past 12 months, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has increased 75.9 percent in South Dakota.

Prior to 2009, the state had never endured a 60 percent yearly increase in the jobless rate. But with unemployment rising in 10 of the past 12 months, holding steady in another (October 2008), and decreasing by a tenth of a point in just one month (April 2009), this 60 percent mark in yearly change has been surpassed in every month this year:

January 2008 – January 2009: +63.0 percent
February 2008 – February 2009: +70.4 percent
March 2008 – March 2009: +75.0 percent
April 2008 – April 2009: +65.5 percent
May 2008 – May 2009: +72.4 percent
June 2008 – June 2009: +75.9 percent.

Unemployment numbers for the month of June in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and North Dakota will be released in the coming days.

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