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 52,460 in October 2019. 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
October 2019

South Dakota county outline map of labor supply estimates

Labor Force

This data is seasonally adjusted.

Preliminary estimates show South Dakota's unemployment rate held steady at 3.0 percent in October 2019. The labor force increased over the month by 800 workers (0.2 percent) to 468,800 workers. The level of unemployed increased by 200 workers (1.4 percent) to 14,200 workers.

South Dakota Unemployment Rates by County
Not seasonally adjusted
October 2019

South Dakota county map of unemployment rates

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 200 (0.0 percent) from September 2019 to October 2019.

Government had the largest over-the-month increase with a gain of 600 workers (0.7 percent). Local Government accounted for this increase. Gains in Educational Services accounted for majority of the growth within Government. Federal Government and State Government both remained unchanged over the month.

Leisure and Hospitality had a 3.0 percent drop from September 2019 to October 2019 with the loss of 1,500 workers. This loss is consistent with historical trends as tourist destinations reduce staff to match the decrease in visitors as weather turns cold. This drop is lessened by an increase of hunters who flock to the state for pheasant hunting in October.

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 8,800 workers (2.0 percent) from October 2018 to October 2019. The top five contributors to this gain were Wholesale Trade; Professional and Business Services; Construction; Manufacturing; and Leisure and Hospitality.

Wholesale Trade had a 10 percent increase over the year, adding 2,100 workers. This sector went from 21,100 workers in October 2018 to 23,200 workers in October 2019. The wholesaling process is an intermediate step in the distribution of merchandise. The merchandise in this sector consist of the outputs of agriculture, mining, manufacturing and certain information industries like publishing. In wholesale, goods are sold in large quantities to retailers and other business.

Professional and Business Services continued an upward trend, adding 1,200 workers (3.6 percent) over the year. As other industries and the population grow, so does the need for the variety of services provided within the Professional and Business Services supersector. Examples of establishments in this supersector include temporary staffing services, payroll processing services, engineering services, landscaping services, travel agencies and security guard services.

Construction gained 900 workers (3.8 percent), going from 23,800 workers in October 2018 to 24,700 workers in October 2019. Specialty Trade Contractors added 500 workers (3.6 percent) in October 2019. Specialty Trade Contractors perform a specific activity, such as site preparation, pouring concrete, plumbing, painting or doing electrical work. Construction of Buildings and Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction also showed growth on a smaller scale, adding 200 workers (3.3 percent) and 200 workers (5.3 percent), respectively.

Manufacturing had an increase of 900 workers (2.0 percent) workers in October 2019. Non-Durable Goods and Durable Goods both contributed to this growth, adding 500 workers (3.1 percent) and 400 workers (1.4 percent), respectively. Durable Goods, such as trailers, furniture and electronic equipment, are not immediately consumed and can be kept for a longer time. Non-Durable Goods, such as food and beverage products, paper products and fuel, are immediately consumed in one use or have a lifespan of less than three years.

Leisure and Hospitality estimated growth of 900 workers (1.9 percent), reaching a level of 48,400 workers in October 2019. A majority of the growth in this supersector took place outside of the Sioux Falls and Rapid City metro areas. Establishments included in Leisure and Hospitality are: hunting guide services, hunting camps, hotels, restaurants and coffee shops.

Education and Health Services added 700 workers (1.0 percent) over the year. Health Care and Social Assistance added 800 workers (1.2 percent), with Hospitals accounting for a majority of this growth. Health Care and Social Assistance has gone from 65,700 workers in October 2018 to 66,500 workers in October 2019. Advances in technology requiring additional staff and a growing population continue to increase the demand for workers in this supersector. Educational Services had a decrease of 100 workers (1.3 percent) over the year.