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 51,765 in December 2016. 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
December 2016

Labor Force

This data is seasonally adjusted.

Preliminary estimates show the December 2016 South Dakota labor force down over the month, with the level of employed dropping to 442,900. The level of unemployed increased by 100 (0.8 percent) to 12,600.

South Dakota Unemployment Rates by County
Not seasonally adjusted
December 2016

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 decreased by 4,300 (or 1.0 percent) from November 2016 to December 2016.

The Leisure and Hospitality sector experienced the largest worker loss, decreasing by 1,600 workers (3.4 percent), correlating with the start of the slower winter months.

Construction decreased by 2,100 workers (8.7 percent) in December. 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 400 workers (1.3 percent) to 31,600 in December compared to 32,000 in November.

Other Services had a slight decrease over-the-month of 200 workers (1.3 percent).

Education and Health Services increased by 200 workers (0.3 percent), from 71,400 in November 2016 to 71,600 in December 2016. This sector continues to grow and expand.

Retail Trade increased over the month by 800 (1.5 percent) from 54,600 in November 2016 to 55,400 in December 2016.

Manufacturing had a loss of 600 workers (1.5 percent), decreasing from 41,400 in November to 40,800 in December.

Financial Activities had a small loss of 100 workers (0.3 percent).

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 7,200 (1.7 percent) from December 2015 to December 2016. Since the year 2005, the South Dakota total nonfarm worker level has continued to trend upward.

Leisure and Hospitality increased over the year by 2,100 workers (4.9 percent) to 45,300 in December 2016. 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 700 workers (1.3 percent), rising to a level of 55,400 in December 2016. The Retail Trade sector has continued to trend upward in relation to the end of tourist season. Later in the year, spending picks up in December for the holiday shopping season. With spending slowing considerably in February, worker levels typically decline as the snow melts during early spring.

The Construction sector increased over the year in December 2016, with the employment level increasing by 600 workers (2.8 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 71,600 in December 2016, gaining 2,000 workers (2.9 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 500 workers (1.6 percent). The worker level in this industry has continued to trend upward since January 2004. The worker level was 31,100 in December 2015 and increased to 31,600 in December 2016.

The Wholesale Trade worker level increased over the year by 200 workers (0.9 percent) to 21,500 workers in December 2016. 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 900 workers (2.2 percent). Worker levels had been steadily trending upward until the recession hit in 2009. Since then, worker levels have continued to trend upward overall.

The Other Services sector had a loss of 1,000 workers (6.3 percent), falling to a level of 14,800 workers in December 2016. 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 700 workers (2.4 percent), reaching a level of 30,400 workers in December 2016. 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 80,800 in December 2016. The Government sector includes Federal, State and Local Government.

For a printer-friendly version of this Overview, print pages 1-4 of the January e-Labor Bulletin (in Adobe PDF format).