It's been four months since the President approved the $787 billion economic stimulus package. But the unemployment rate across the country continues to climb. Nationally, it hit a 25-year high in May at 9.4 percent.
But in South Dakota the number of unemployed is half of that, and the stimulus package is helping put some of them back to work.
South Dakota received more than $750 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Several departments across the state are already putting that money to work and putting the unemployed back to work.
"We were able to in a few short weeks provide over 600 work opportunities for youth across the state of South Dakota with that stimulus funding," Greg Johnson with the Sioux Falls Department of Labor Office said.
The Department of Labor has already spent $3 million in stimulus money to help hundreds of workers in their teens and twenties find summer jobs.
It's also been able to increase payments for unemployed South Dakotans by $25 a week, extend those payments for unemployed workers and qualify more workers for unemployment because of the stimulus package.
"Obviously, there's a lot of people that got laid off, caught up in this recession and a little extra money for them, and extending that money to them for a longer time, is a significant help for them," South Dakota Director of Unemployment Insurance Don Kattke said.
The South Dakota Department of Transportation has also put the federal money to work. Construction crews have already started work on four major projects on South Dakota's interstate system. In all, DOT has 12 projects in the works that total $80 million statewide.
And first-time home buyers are also seeing an impact on their pocketbook. South Dakotans who qualify as first time home buyers between now and the end of the year will receive $8,000 from the federal government because of the multi-billion dollar package.
For more information on how South Dakota is spending the stimulus money, the state has set up a Web site to help taxpayers get an idea of where the money is going.
Just click here at recover.sd.gov.
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