Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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Labor Market Information Center

Employee Benefits

Methodology and Technical Notes

Survey Methodology

The survey sample of employers was drawn from the Enhanced Quarterly Unemployment Insurance (EQUI) file for fourth quarter 2017. The EQUI file contains all employers with employees covered by the unemployment insurance system in South Dakota. Only private employers of the industries listed in the tables above were included in the sample. Government entities, private household employers, the public administration industry (NAICS 92) and agricultural industry (NAICS 11) were all excluded from the survey. The universe, employers within the EQUI file, was stratified two separate ways: by size class and industry. This ensures the sample of employers reflects the size class and industry structure in South Dakota. To prevent any biases, after stratifying, each employer in each stratification was assigned a probability of being selected to participate in the survey. Employers were then randomly selected to participate in the survey based on those probabilities.

A letter detailing the survey was sent out in July 2018 to the randomly selected employers. In the letter, we provided a web link to a safe and secure online surveying tool for the employer wishing to provide their benefits information early. We also provided the option of requesting a mailed survey form. As each request for a printed survey form was received, we immediately mailed the survey form to that employer. Two weeks after the initial mailing, an email reminder was sent to those who had not yet responded. The email included the same two survey options.

A second email was sent to non-respondents in August 2018. The last effort to collect responses was in September 2018, when the survey form was mailed to all non-respondents of the initial letter and reminder emails.

The survey asked respondents (employers) whether they provide certain insurance benefits, a retirement plan, certain types of paid leave and other miscellaneous benefits most common among businesses. The employer was asked how much of the insurance premium they are covering per employee, monthly costs for medical insurance, annual costs for total insurance coverage, and the number of annual paid leave days given to an employee. The survey also asked the employer to report the number of full-time and part-time workers currently in their organization.

Results Methodology

We first analyzed the percentage of employers offering benefits. Results were initially summarized to reflect a statewide average. We further analyzed the percentage of employers offering benefits by size class and industry. Findings of the survey show employer size has a large impact on the percentage of benefits being offered. Typically, the larger the employer, the more likely a benefit will be offered.

We then analyzed benefit provisions. It is not only important to know what benefits are being offered, but also the amount of a benefit being provided. Benefit provisions analyzed in the survey are the percent of insurance premiums covered by the employer and the number of paid leave days provided to an employee. These results are presented at statewide, size class and industry levels.

Lastly, we analyzed the employer’s cost of providing single/family medical insurance and the cost of providing a total insurance benefits package. If medical insurance or an insurance benefits package was offered, employers selected one of five cost level categories for the specific benefit. Pie charts display the distribution of employers within those five specific cost levels. Results are presented at the statewide level.


This study analyzes the percentage of employers offering benefits. This study is not an analysis on the percent of employees being offered benefits or an analysis on how many workers choose to participate in those benefits. Since we know from the results larger firms are more likely to offer benefits than smaller firms, and we also know the medium to larger size classes account for much more employment than smaller firms in South Dakota, we can assume the percentage of employees being offered benefits would be higher than the percent of employers offering benefits.

It is important to note this study is not intended to be inclusive of all the benefits offered by employers. The data presented summarizes only the customary benefits that were asked about on the survey. Other, less common benefits may be available to employees in the state but are not identified in this publication.

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