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 55,120 in August 2018. 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.

South Dakota Labor Supply
August 2018

Map of labor supply estimates by county

Labor Force

This data is seasonally adjusted.

Preliminary estimates show the August 2018 South Dakota labor force decreased over the month by 500 workers (0.1 percent) to 458,700 workers. The level of unemployed decreased by 400 workers (2.8 percent) to 14,000 workers.

South Dakota Unemployment Rates by County
Not seasonally adjusted
August 2018

Map of unemployment rates by county

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 1,500 (0.3 percent) from July 2018 to August 2018. The largest gains came from the Leisure and Hospitality supersector and the Education and Health Services supersector.

Leisure and Hospitality continued its upward trend with a 3.2 percent gain with the addition of 1,700 workers. Historically, worker levels peak in the month of August as tourists travel throughout the state to enjoy outdoor activities before the weather turns cold. County fairs, the state fair and the Sturgis motorcycle rally are just a couple examples of events that took place over the month that contributed to this increase.

Education and Health Services gained 600 workers (0.8 percent) from July 2018 to August 2018. Educational Services and Health Care and Social Assitance both added to this gain with over-the-month increases.

Retail Trade had the largest over-the-month decrease with a loss of 700 workers (1.3 percent). Traditionally, the Retail Trade sector fluctuates during the year with highs in the months of July (back to school shopping), and November and December (holiday season).

Government had a growth of 400 workers (0.5 percent) over the month. Federal, State and Local Government all contributed to this increase with gains.

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 9,300 (2.1 percent) from August 2017 to August 2018. Since 2010, the South Dakota total nonfarm worker level has continued to trend upward. Top contributors to this gain were Professional and Business Services; Leisure and Hospitality; Manufacturing; Construction; and Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities.

Professional and Business Services had the largest gain adding 2,600 workers (8.2 percent) over the year. This supersector went from 31,600 workers in August 2017 to 34,200 workers in August 2018. Since 2009, Professional and Business Services worker levels have been steady with an upward trend. Examples of establishments in this supersector include temporary staffing services, landscaping services, law firms, payroll processing services, engineering consulting services, photography studios, veterinary services, centralized administrative offices, and site remediation services.

Manufacturing grew by 3.7 percent over the year, adding 1,600 workers to its sector. Over half of this growth took place outside of the Sioux Falls and Rapid City Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Durable Goods had the biggest impact on this sector with the addition of 1,200 workers (4.3 percent). Non-Durable Goods also provided a gain with the addition of 400 worker (2.6 percent). Durable Goods are not immediately consumed and can be kept for a longer time. Non-Durable Goods are immediately consumed in one use or have a lifespan of less than three years.

Leisure and Hospitality had an increase of 2,000 workers (3.8 percent) over the year. This supersector went from 52,600 in August 2017 to 54,600 in August 2018. Performing arts, museums, parks, hotels and restaurants are examples of establishments included in this supersector.

Retail Trade had the biggest decrease over the year with the loss of 1,200 workers (2.2 percent). Technology has had an influence on this sector as stores continue to grow their online presence with some offering phone apps to make shoping easier. As consumers continue to shop more online and out of the state, there may be less of a demand for retail workers.

Construction continued its upward trend with a 5.7 percent gain with the addition of 1,400 workers. The majority of this growth came from the Specialty Trade Contractors subsector. Specialty Trade Contractors had an over-the-year increase of 900 worker (6.4 percent). Specialty Trade Contractors perform a specific activity, such as plumbing, painting, electrical work and site preparation. Gains were also reported in the Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction subsector (400 workers or 9.5 percent) and in the Construction of Buildings subsector (100 workers or 1.6 percent).

Other Services added 700 workers (4.1 percent) over the year to 17,800 workers in August 2018. Other Services include a wide variety of activites, including repair and maintenance, personal and laudry services, religious, grant making, private households and other similar organizations.

Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities had a 8.3 percent increase over the year with the gain of 1,100 workers. Over the last ten years,Transportation, Warehousing and Utitlities worker levels have been stable with an upward trend. Taxicab services, natural gas distribution, local and long-distance trucking, scheduled air passenger transportation, sightseeing buses and general warehousing are examples of establishments included in this supersector.

Government added 800 workers (1.1 percent) from August 2017 to August 2018. Local Government increased by 700 workers (1.5 percent) with Local Government Educational Services accounting for majority of this gain. State Government remained stable over the year while the Federal Government added 100 workers (0.9 percent).