South Dakota unemployment rate now lower than pre-pandemic level


The unemployment rate in South Dakota has dropped to a level lower than before the coronavirus pandemic began.

“NEWS: South Dakota's unemployment rate dropped to 3.0% in December,” Gov. Kristi Noem announced on Twitter Friday. “That's lower than it was BEFORE the pandemic.”

Statistics from the South Dakota Department of Labor & Regulation confirm that the state had an unemployment rate of 3.5% in December 2019, compared to 3.0% in December 2020.

Noem has consistently touted the economic success of her state amid the coronavirus pandemic and has often pointed out that she was one of the few governors to resist strict coronavirus lockdowns.

Critics have slammed Noem for the high infection rate in her state and for her position on wearing face masks, but Noem has vocally rejected those critiques.

“Many in the media criticized this approach, labeling me ill-informed, a ‘denier,' and reckless,” Noem told reporters last month. “Some have even asserted that South Dakota is ‘as bad as it gets anywhere in the world' when it comes to COVID-19, a demonstrably false statement.”

The unemployment rate in the United States overall sits at 6.7% in December 2020, which is up from the 3.6% rate it registered in December 2019.

On Friday, President Biden provided an update on the economic forecast in the country and said that the economic crisis is “only deepening” and “it’s not getting better.”

Biden’s prompted some on social media to cite the economic success of South Dakota and suggest that strict lockdown measures across the country should be eased.

“South Dakota’s unemployment rate just reached a point lower than before the pandemic began,” the Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Fifield tweeted. “The economy is recovering wherever government isn’t a boot on the neck of working people.”

The coronavirus death count in the U.S. currently stands at just over 426,000, out of a nationwide total of over 25 million cases.

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