SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Unemployed and don’t expect to go back to the job or don’t want to go back to the job? What does the job market look like?
While the national unemployment rate of 14% is the highest it’s been since the Great Depression, there are available jobs on the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation (DOLR) website.
The South Dakota DOLR website had 17,621 jobs posted in the South Dakota JobsWorks job bank as of May 8. That’s about 3,000 more than on May 7.
Although there are more than 17,000 jobs listed, it’s still fewer than two months ago.
The number of jobs available statewide on May 5 was a decline of 9.6% from the March 19 peak, according to the South Dakota Bureau of Finance and Management.
The three industries with the most jobs listed with the S.D. DOLR were health care and social assistance, food and accommodations and retail trade. There were 350 manufacturing jobs listed.
KELOLANDEMPLOYMENT.com lists job openings in particular geographic areas and job sectors. For example, there were 74 manufacturing jobs listed specific to the Sioux Falls area on May 8. The site lists jobs in the Watertown, Yankton, Pierre, Aberdeen, Vermillion, Mitchell, Rapid City and Brookings areas as well.
The state DOLR lists job openings and the number of potential candidates based on jobs advertised online and potential candidates with active resumes in the workforce. As of May 5, there 2,213 job openings in health care and social assistance; 805 in accommodation and food service; 669 in retail trade; 570 in educational services; and 565 in administrative and support and waste management and remediation services. These sectors were the top five fields that advertised jobs.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been encouraging job seekers to realize businesses are still hiring and in need of workers. There are many services we can provide to help with their job search both online and virtually,” said Dawn Dovre of the S.D. DOLR. Dovre is the director of workforce planning, policy and public affairs for the agency.
During a Thursday COVID-19 news briefing, Gov. Kristi Noem said job losses in the state do not appear to be having as much of a dramatic impact in South Dakota as compared to other states.
South Dakota’s unemployment rate was 3.3% in February and 3.4% in March. That low rate of an unemployment typically indicates there are more available jobs than workers.
The unemployment rate for April has not yet been released. The state has had at least 30,000 people who have filed new claims for unemployment since March.
Even with an increase, there still may be more available jobs than workers to fill them, especially if some of those unemployed return to work.
The BLS said on May 8 the number of unemployed persons who reported being on temporary layoff increased tenfold to 18.1 million in April in the U.S. A portion of those laid off may be returning to work in the future.
Still, location is important.
Finding a job in Moody County may be more difficult than finding one in Brookings County because of the number of available jobs and the competition for those jobs, according to available jobs and candidates for jobs listed by the S.D. DOLR.
There were 9.36 candidates for each posted job in Moody County as of May 7, according o the S.D. DOLR. There were 0.52 candidates for each posted job in Brookings County as of May 7.
Statewide there are 3,060 candidates for those 17,621 job openings or .17 candidates per job.
The BLS said on May 8 that the number of permanent jobs losers in the nation increased by 544,000 to two million in April.
Nationally, job losses were very high in retail trade and leisure and hospitality sectors.
Those sectors have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 in South Dakota.
In South Dakota, sales tax declined by 41.1% in apparel and accessory stores, by 35.9% in hotels and similar businesses and by 21.8% in eating and drinking places, according to the South Dakota Bureau of Finance and Management. Yet, food accommodations and retail trade were two of the top three industries listing jobs in the state as of May 5.
While higher population areas of the state may have more available jobs, there aren’t as many as there were two months ago.
Job openings in higher population areas have also declined since March 19, the S.D. Bureau of Finance and Management said. The Sioux Falls metropolitan statistical area had a 12% decline in openings since March 19. The Rapid City MSA had a 23.5% decline.
Minnehaha County had 4,512 online advertised jobs openings as of May 6, according to the DOLR. In March 2020, the most recent breakdown available in geographic area, the Sioux Falls Metro Area of Minnehaha County, Lincoln County, McCook County and Turner County had 4,780 unemployed workers.
In contrast, Jones County had 15 people unemployed in March and 25 job openings as of May 6. The county had a labor supply of 75 in March, which included workers willing to change jobs and discouraged workers.
The Rapid City area had 2,695 unemployed people in March 2020. Pennington County had 3,031 job openings. Lawrence County had 415, and Meade County had 277 as of May 6.
While CARES Act money such as small business loans and the paycheck protection program are geared to help small businesses in the U.S., the South Dakota job market could be heavily impacted if restaurants, bars and similar business and retail stores close because of COVID-19.
In 2019, 99% of all South Dakota businesses were small businesses, according to the Small Business Administration. The state’s 86,550 small businesses accounted for 58.8% (210,534) of the state’s employees. Most of those jobs were at businesses with fewer than 100 people.
COVID-19 has also changed the way some employers hire employees and the ways in which to look for jobs.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has offered advice to businesses who are looking for employees including sharing various apps and other technology that can be used in the process.
Universities and colleges across the U.S. are using technology to connect students to potential jobs and are the host for virtual job fairs that connect students and graduates with prospective employers.
Locally, Opportunity Sioux Falls, a partnership between the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, the local chamber and others, was created to help the unemployed and job seekers during the pandemic.
State DOL data compiled before the COVID-19 pandemic started shows that the expected job opportunity growth in the state is in businesses that absorbed some of the hardest hits in the pandemic. They are also jobs that tend to pay less than the annual average salary in the state, according to state data.
Job growth from 2016 to 2026 was projected for cashiers, retail sales, food preparations, servers and similar. Job growth was also projected for bookkeeping, accountants and audit clerks as well as jobs considered blue collar in laborers and freight, stock and material movers and heavy trailer and tractor drivers. Customer service and childcare were two other areas with projected job growth.
A 2018 South Dakota Workforce report from the DOLR also lists health care occupations such as nurse practitioners, software developers and massage therapists as among the fastest growing occupations in the state.
The S.D. DOLR lists job growth areas on the website and this week, cashiers, retail sales, food prep, wait staff and janitors not including maid or housekeeping were the top five job growth areas.