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 45,055 in June 2021. 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
June 2021

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 increased 0.1% to 2.9% in June 2021. The labor force increased over the month by 400 workers (0.1%) to 470,500 workers. The level of unemployed increased by 500 (3.8%) to 13,500 persons unemployed.

South Dakota's June 2021 labor force of 470,500 increased compared to the June 2020 level of 456,300. The level of employed increased by 28,600 (6.7%); the level of unemployed decreased by 14,500 persons (51.8%). The unemployment rate decreased 3.2% to 2.9%.

South Dakota Unemployment Rates by County
Not seasonally adjusted
June 2021

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 7,900 (1.8%) from May 2021 to June 2021. This is higher than traditional May to June gains in the state. Over the last 10 years, the May to June gain in workers has averaged 4,900.

Leisure and Hospitality gained 3,900 workers (8.9%) over the month, reaching 47,900 workers in June 2021. The Rapid City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) accounted for just over half of this growth with the addition of 2,000 workers (19.8%). Zoos, hotels, fitness centers, ice cream parlors, campgrounds and mobile food stands are examples of establishments in this supersector. Growth is common this time of year as many establishments increase worker levels to keep up with the demand of visitors in the summer. The stronger-than-average growth from May to June is a positive sign for the recovery of this industry sector, which was hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Construction increased 1,700 workers (6.6%) in June 2021. Specialty Trade Contractors paved the way to this growth, adding 1,100 workers (7.7%). Specialty Trade Contractors perform a specific activity, such as site preparation, pouring concrete, plumbing, painting or doing electrical work. Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction added 400 workers (7.5%), climbing to 5,700 workers. Construction of Buildings also had over-the-month gains with the addition of 200 workers (3.2%). Historically, worker levels rise with the temperatures from May to June (with growth averaging 1,500 the last 10 years) as establishments in the industry repair roads and work on new buildings.

Retail Trade worker levels shot up 1,200 (2.3%) over the month, reaching 52,500 workers in June 2021. The Sioux Falls MSA added 300 workers (1.6%), and the Rapid City MSA added 200 workers (2.1%) over the month. Seasonal gains are common in the summer as establishments hire more part-time workers during the summer. These jobs provide many high school and college students opportunities to gain work experience and earn money during summer break.

Professional and Business Services had significant gains over the month with the addition of 1,100 workers (3.4%). Most of the growth in this supersector took place outside the Sioux Falls and Rapid City MSA. Growth in this supersector indicates other businesses are growing at a rate where additional professional services are required. Temporary staffing services, payroll processing services, engineering services, landscaping services, travel agencies and security guard services are examples of establishments in this supersector.

Education and Health Services fell 1,100 workers (1.5%). Educational Services accounted for the decline, dropping 1,300 workers in June 2021. Worker level drops are common in June when schools are on summer break. Health Care and Social Assistance increased 200 workers (0.3%), climbing to 66,500 workers. Hospitals added 200 workers (0.7%).

Government declined 1,100 workers (1.4%) in June 2021. State Government decreased 2,200 workers (12.1%). State Government Educational Services accounted for the worker level loss in State Government, dropping 2,300 workers (25.8%) in June 2021. This type of drop is consistent with historical trends, when many types of educational services workers drop off payrolls for the summer break. Local Government added 900 workers (1.7%). Gains in Local Government may be attributed to local governments hiring summer workers for ground maintenance, road crews, lifeguards, etc. Federal Government gained 200 workers (1.7%).

Over-the-year comparisons

The total nonfarm wage and salaried worker level increased by 24,300 workers (5.8%) from June 2020 to June 2021. Gains were scattered throughout many industries and are related to worker levels bouncing back after taking a significant dip when the pandemic first impacted the state.

Leisure and Hospitality had the largest over-the-year growth, adding 6,800 workers (16.5%). Worker levels in the Leisure and Hospitality supersector took a substantial hit in 2020 due to the decline in demand as many stayed home and postponed travel plans to lower the impact of COVID-19. Since the initial worker level drop, visitor travel has continually picked up, increasing the demand for workers.

Retail Trade increased 3,300 workers (6.7%). The Sioux Falls MSA added 1,200 workers, and the Rapid City MSA added 800 workers over the year. Over-the-year growth in Retail Trade is due to worker levels rebounding after previously dipping significantly in the beginning of the pandemic.

Government worker levels increased 6,200 (8.4%) over the year, reaching 80,300 workers in June 2021. Local Government contributed most of this growth with the addition of 5,900 workers (12.7%). Local Government Educational Services added 2,100 workers (9.0%) over the year. State Government rose 200 workers (1.3%). State Government Educational Services accounted for the growth in State Government with a gain of 300 workers (4.8%). Federal Government added 100 workers (0.9%). Over-the-year growth is related to establishments being open that were previously closed in June 2020 due to the pandemic. This includes schools returning to in-class learning after providing remote learning in spring 2020 and the return of summer recreation programs.