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 47,435 in August 2023. 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 2023

Map showing estimated labor supply for South Dakota counties. The same data is available in table format at

Labor Force

This data is seasonally adjusted.

Preliminary estimates show South Dakota's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.9% in August 2023. The labor force increased over the month by 400 workers (0.1%) to 483,100 workers. The level of unemployed increased by 100 (1.1%) to 9,100 workers.

South Dakota's August 2023 labor force of 483,100 increased compared to the August 2022 level of 475,500. The level of employed increased by 8,800 (1.9%); the level of unemployed decreased by 1,200 persons (11.7%). The unemployment rate decreased 0.3% to 1.9%.

South Dakota Unemployment Rates by County

August 2023

This data is not seasonally adjusted.

Map showing unemployment rates by county in South Dakota. The same data is available in table format at

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 2,800 (0.6%) from July 2023 to August 2023.

Professional and Business Services had significant growth in August 2023, adding 1,100 workers (2.9%). The Sioux Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) added 600 workers over the month. Computer hardware consulting services, payroll processing services, landscaping services, tax preparation services, corporate offices primarily engaged in overseeing a company and security guard services are examples of establishments in this supersector. Growth is related to small gains in worker levels spread throughout many of the establishments in Professional and Business Services.

Private Education and Health Services gained 900 workers (1.2%). Most of this growth took place outside the Sioux Falls and Rapid City MSAs. The Sioux Falls MSA added 200 workers over the month, and the Rapid City MSA had an increase of 100 workers. Statewide, Health Care and Social Assistance had an increase of 600 workers (0.9%), jumping to 69,700 workers in August 2023. Hospitals accounted for half of the growth in Health Care and Social Assistance with the addition of 300 workers (1.0%). Private Educational Services worker levels rose 4.4%, adding 300 workers over the month.

Leisure and Hospitality continued trending up, adding 800 workers (1.5%) in August 2023. Half of this growth took place in the Rapid City MSA. Examples of establishments in this industry include hotels, restaurants, casinos, zoos, museums, fitness centers and water parks. Growth is common this time of year as many establishments hire additional staff to accommodate an increase of visitors. Worker levels in this supersector typically peak in August along with tourism activity, then begin a decent in September when school breaks and family vacations end, dipping to their lowest levels in January or February.

Over-the-year comparisons

The total nonfarm wage and salaried worker level increased by 8,800 workers (1.9%) from August 2022 to August 2023. The top contributors to this growth were Private Education and Health Services; Retail Trade; Construction; Professional and Business Services; and Wholesale Trade.

Private Education and Health Services added 1,800 workers (2.4%) over the year. Growth took place primarily in the Sioux Falls MSA (2,100 workers), continually clarifying its identity as a regional health center. Statewide, Private Educational Services added 1,200 workers (20.3%). Health Care and Social Assistance gained 600 workers (0.9%), reaching 69,700 workers in August 2023. Hospitals continued to expand their workforce, adding 900 workers (3.2%). Population growth along with an increase in medical specializations drive the demand in Private Education and Health Services, both increasing the need for additional staff.

Retail Trade worker levels rose 3.2% over the year with the addition of 1,700 workers. The Sioux Falls MSA added 1,500 workers (7.9%). Warehouse clubs, sporting goods retailers, car dealerships, department stores, hardware stores, supermarkets and gasoline stations are examples of establishments in this sector. Over-the-year growth is a result of establishments expanding their workforce in order to keep up with consumer demand.

Construction had an increase of 1,400 workers (4.9%), jumping to 29,900. Specialty Trade Contractors accounted for a majority of this growth, adding 900 workers (5.4%) over the year. Just under 60% of the workforce in Construction is in the Specialty Trade Contractors subsector (17,700 workers). 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 had over-the-year growth, adding 300 workers and 200 workers, respectively. Growth in construction is driven by increased demand for housing and new commercial projects that come with population growth.

Professional and Business Services gained 1,400 workers (3.7%), climbing to 39,000 workers in August 2023. A majority of this growth took place outside the Sioux Falls and Rapid City MSAs. Professional and Business Services includes a wide range of services frequently used by other businesses and occasionally households. This type of growth indicates other businesses are growing at a rate where additional professional services are required.

Wholesale Trade added 1,200 workers (5.4%) over the year. This sector has consistently had over-the-year growth since April 2021. The Sioux Falls MSA added 400 workers over the year, while the Rapid City MSA added 100. The wholesaling process is an intermediate step in product distribution. Wholesalers sell merchandise received from manufacturers to other establishments and normally operate from a warehouse or office. If supply increases, the demand for workers also increases.