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One in five S.D. unemployed has been long without a job

By Todd Epp, Northern Plains News

The Dakotas have the lowest unemployment rates in the nation—2.6 percent for North Dakota and 3.6 percent for South Dakota, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Of those unemployed South Dakotans, however, about 1 in 6 have not found work for more than six months. In North Dakota, that number is about 1 in 5.

That’s according a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, which showed that 17.2 percent of South Dakota’s unemployed have not had employment for more than 27 weeks. In North Dakota, the state with the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, it is 19.6 percent.

Compared to the national picture, the Dakotas still look pretty good: In 28 states, more than a third of the unemployed have been without a job for more than half a year.

The national trend, however, shows the nation has not yet completely recovered from the recession. EPI notes that the share of long-term unemployed nationally is nearly twice the rate in the mid 2000s—18 percent in February 2007 to approximately 38 percent of the unemployed in December 2013.

The long-term unemployment rates for other Northern Plains states according to EPI: Iowa, 21 percent; Minnesota, 26.8 percent; Montana, 24.6 percent; Nebraska, 27.8 percent and Wyoming, 21.4 percent.

New Jersey and the District of Columbia had the highest long-term unemployment rates at 46.6 percent of unemployed workers.


The Economic Policy Institute is an economic think tank funded by foundation grants, labor unions, and other individuals, corporations and organizations.