Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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Labor Market Information Center

Overview of the Current Labor Market

The analysis below is based on the most current labor market data available at any point in time.

Labor Supply

The number of South Dakotans who would be available to staff a new or expanding business, or South Dakota's labor supply, was estimated at 47,880 in February 2017. Included in this labor supply are those who currently hold jobs (and would like to change) and those who, for a variety of reasons, do not have jobs. (See related data.)

South Dakota Labor Supply
February 2017

Labor Force

This data is seasonally adjusted.

Preliminary estimates show the February 2017 South Dakota labor force up over the month, with the level of employed increasing to 443,200. The level of unemployed decreased by 100 (0.8 percent) to 12,900.

South Dakota Unemployment Rates by County
Not seasonally adjusted
February 2017

Notes about labor force data

The unemployment rate represents the number of unemployed as a percent of the labor force. People are classified as unemployed if they do not have jobs, have actively looked for work in the prior four weeks and are currently available for work. People who were not working and were waiting to be recalled to jobs from which they were temporarily laid off are also included as unemployed.

Labor force estimates for South Dakota are produced by the Labor Market Information Center in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The concepts and definitions underlying the labor force data come from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the household survey which is the official measure of the labor force for the nation. The statewide estimate of the number of nonfarm jobs is a component of the model used to produce the labor force estimates. Other data used in this model include the number of continued unemployment insurance claims and survey data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) which is specific to the state.

Although state specific data is used in the production of the labor force estimates for South Dakota, the state monthly model estimates are controlled in "real time" to sum to national monthly labor force estimates from the CPS. Therefore, variation in the estimates of the employed and unemployed are somewhat controlled by what is happening nationally.

South Dakota Nonfarm Wage & Salaried Workers by Industry

This data is not seasonally adjusted.

Over-the-month comparisons

Based on a monthly survey of South Dakota establishments, preliminary estimates show the total nonfarm wage and salaried worker level increased by 2,300 (or 0.5 percent) from January 2017 to February 2017.
The Leisure and Hospitality sector experienced worker gains, increasing by 700 workers (1.7 percent).

Construction increased by 300 workers (1.5 percent) in February. Historically, the construction sector peaks in the summer as crew workers fix the roads and highways across the state and continues until cold weather starts.

Professional and Business Services decreased by 300 workers (1.0 percent) to 30,500 in February compared to 30,800 in January.

Other Services had a slight decrease over-the-month of 100 workers (0.6 percent).

Education and Health Services increased by 500 workers (0.7 percent), from 70,300 in January 2017 to 70,800 February 2017. This sector continues to grow and expand.

Retail Trade decreased over the month by 800 (1.5 percent) from 53,500 in January 2017 to 52,700 in February 2017.

Manufacturing gained 1,200 workers (3.0 percent), increasing from 40,100 in January to 41,300 in February.

Financial Activities gained 100 workers (0.3 percent) over-the-month with its rise to 29,600 workers.

Over-the-year comparisons

Based on a monthly survey of South Dakota establishments, preliminary estimates show the total nonfarm wage and salaried worker level increased by 5,200 (1.2 percent) from February 2016 to February 2017. Since 2005, the South Dakota total nonfarm worker level has continued to trend upward.

Leisure and Hospitality was unchanged over the year at 42,800 workers in February 2017. Worker levels in this sector commonly fluctuate quite a bit due to the seasonality of this sector, depending on the time of year. Worker levels trends for this sector have been fairly consistent, typically peaking in August and reflecting lower levels during January and February.

Retail Trade gained 300 workers (0.6 percent), rising to a level of 52,700 in February 2017.

The Construction sector increased over the year in February 2017, with the employment level increasing by 1,300 workers (6.9 percent). Historically, the worker levels in this industry hit highs during the summer months and decline when colder weather hits.

Education and Health Services increased over the year to 70,800 in February 2017, gaining 1,200 workers (1.7 percent). The Education and Healthcare Services sector has remained fairly stable and continued to trend upward. The aging population continued to impact the demand for health care services.  

The Professional and Business Services sector had an over-the-year increase of 100 workers (0.3 percent). The worker level in this industry has continued to trend upward since January 2004. The worker level was 30,400 in February 2016 and increased to 30,500 in February 2017.

The Wholesale Trade worker level increased over the year by 100 workers (0.5 percent) to 21,000 workers in February 2017. The Wholesale Trade sector includes establishments engaged in wholesaling merchandise, as well as rendering services incidental to the sale of merchandise.

Manufacturing experienced a decrease over the year of 700 workers (1.7 percent). Worker levels had been steadily trending upward until the recession hit in 2009. Since then, worker levels have continued to trend upward overall. Durable Goods decreased over-the-year by 1,100 workers (4.0 percent). Durable Goods are not for immediate consumption and able to be kept for a period of time, such as cars, refrigerators and mobile phones. Non-Durable Goods increased by 400 workers (2.8 percent). Non-Durable Goods are immediately consumed in one use or ones that have a lifespan of less than three years. Examples of Non-Durable Goods are cosmetics, cleaning supplies, food and fuel.  

The Other Services sector gained 200 workers (1.3 percent), rising to a level of 15,900 workers in February 2017. Other Services include a wide variety of activities, including repair and maintenance, personal and laundry services, religious, grant making, private households and other similar organizations. Historical trends reflect consistent fluctuations with worker levels increasing during the summer months and declining in the spring months.

Financial Activities gained 600 workers (2.1 percent), reaching a level of 29,600 workers in February 2017. Worker levels within this sector had been trending upward, with a high point in 2010. Although a downturn occurred in 2014, worker levels have been trending upward again.

Government increased by 1,600 workers (2.0 percent) to a level of 80,100 in February 2017. The Government sector includes Federal, State and Local Government.

For a printer-friendly version of this Overview, print pages 6-9 of the March e-Labor Bulletin (in Adobe PDF format).