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 51,090 in February 2020. 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
February 2020

South Dakota county outline map of labor supply estimates

Labor Force

This data is seasonally adjusted.

Preliminary estimates show South Dakota's unemployment rate dropped 0.1 percent to 3.3 percent in February 2020. The labor force increased over the month by 600 workers (0.1 percent) to 467,100 workers. The level of unemployed decreased by 200 (1.3 percent) to 15,600 persons unemployed.

South Dakota's February 2020 labor force of 467,100 increased from the February 2019 level of 461,900. The level of employed increased by 4,100 (0.9 percent); the level of unemployed increased by 1,100 persons (7.6 percent). The unemployment rate increased 0.2 percent to 3.3 percent.

South Dakota Unemployment Rates by County
Not seasonally adjusted
February 2020

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 2,700 (0.6 percent) from January 2020 to February 2020. Over the last 10 years, the worker level has had an average increase of 1,490 workers over the January to February time frame.

Over the month, Government gained 1,100 workers (1.4 percent). State Government added 1,100 workers (6.3 percent). The lion's share was in State Government Educational Services, with an increase of 900 workers (10.1 percent). Historically, State Government Educational Services worker levels drop in January due to winter breaks, then increase again in February when schools are back in session. Local Government showed modest over-the-month growth of 100 workers (0.2 percent). Federal Government had a loss of 100 workers (0.9 percent).

Education and Health Services increased 800 workers (1.1 percent) over the month. Educational Services gained 600 workers (8.2 percent). This data includes private educational services, as public educational services are included in government worker levels. Health Care and Social Assistance added 200 workers (0.3 percent), reaching a level of 66,700 workers in February 2020.

Professional and Business Services had a gain of 400 workers (1.2 percent), reaching a February 2020 worker level of 33,500. Examples of establishments in this supersector include temporary staffing services, payroll processing services, engineering services, snow plowing services, travel agencies and security guard services.

Leisure and Hospitality had an over-the-month increase of 400 workers (0.9 percent). Historically, gains from January to February time frame are common; over the last five years, Leisure and Hospitality worker level increases have averaged 300 workers. Arcades, casinos, bowling allys, hotels, restaurants and coffee shops are examples of establishments that are included in this supersector.

Over-the-year comparisons

From February 2019 to February 2020, preliminary estimates show the total nonfarm wage and salaried worker level increased by 4,600 workers (1.1 percent). The top contributors to this gain were Construction; Education and Health Services; and Professional and Business Services.

Construction continued an upward trend with a gain of 1,800 workers (9.0 percent). Construction levels went from 20,100 workers in February 2019 to 21,900 workers in February 2020. Specialty Trade Contractors had an increase of 1,000 workers (8.2 percent). Specialty Trade Contractors perform a specific activity, such as site preparation, concrete pouring, plumbing, painting and electrical work. Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction also showed growth, adding 700 workers (28.0 percent) over the year. Construction of Buildings added 100 workers (1.9 percent).

Education and Health Services gained 1,500 workers (2.1 percent) over the year. Health Care and Social Assistance added 1,200 workers (1.8 percent), with 66,700 workers estimated for February 2020. Hospitals also had growth, adding 700 workers (2.8 percent). Advances in technology requiring additional staff and a growing population continue to increase the demand for workers in this supersector. Educational Services increased 300 workers (3.9 percent).

Professional and Business Services noted a gain of 1,300 workers (4.0 percent). Professional and Business Services levels went from 32,200 workers in February 2019 to 33,500 workers in February 2020. As other industries and the population grow, so does the need for the variety of services provided within the Professional and Business Services supersector.

Wholesale Trade increased 400 workers (1.9 percent) to 21,200 workers in February 2020. The wholesaling process is an intermediate step in the distribution of merchandise. The merchandise in this sector consists 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.

Transportation Warehousing and Utilities had a growth of 400 workers (3.0 percent), reaching a level of 13,600 in February 2020. Examples of establishments in this industry include tow truck services, natural gas distribution, taxicab services, local and long-distance trucking, scheduled air passenger transportation and general warehousing.

Manufacturing continued on a downward trend with an estimated loss of 1,500 workers (3.3 percent) from February 2019 to February 2020. Manufacturing makes up around 10 percent of South Dakota nonfarm workers, with 43,400 workers in February 2020. Manufacturing started trending downward in October 2019. A majority of the losses took place outside the Sioux Falls and Rapid City Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Durable Goods had a loss of 1,600 workers (5.5 percent) over the year. Losses in Durable Goods can be attributed to small drops throughout multiple establishments. Durable Goods are not immediately consumed and can be kept for a longer time. Non-Durable Goods had a modest growth over the year, gaining 100 workers (0.6 percent). Non-Durable goods are immediately consumed in one use or have a lifespan of less than three years. Examples of non-durable goods include food and beverage products, paper products and fuel.