Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

Font Size: A A A

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 52,250 in October 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
October 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 decreased 0.5% to 3.6% in October 2020. The labor force decreased over the month by 1,700 workers (0.4%) to 462,700 workers. The level of unemployed decreased by 2,100 (11.1%) to 16,900 persons unemployed.

South Dakota's October 2020 labor force of 462,700 decreased compared to the October 2019 level of 465,900. The level of employed decreased by 4,300 (1.0%); the level of unemployed increased by 1,100 persons (7.0%). The unemployment rate increased 0.2% to 3.6%.

South Dakota Unemployment Rates by County
Not seasonally adjusted
October 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 decreased by 100 (0.0%) from September 2020 to October 2020. Over the last 10 years, the worker level has had an average decrease of 400 from September to October.

Wholesale Trade had strong gains with an increase of 700 workers (3.4%) over the month. 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.

Manufacturing gained 600 workers (1.4%), climbing to 42,600 workers in October. The bulk of the increases in Manufacturing took place outside the Sioux Falls and Rapid City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Non-Durable Goods Manufacturing had strong gains, adding 800 workers (5.1%) from September 2020 to October 2020. Non-Durable Goods are immediately consumed in one use or have a lifespan of less than three years. Durable Goods Manufacturing had a loss of 200 workers (0.8%). Durable Goods are not immediately consumed and can be kept for a longer time.

Government increased 600 workers (0.8%) over the month, primarily in establishments in educational services. Local Government gained 500 workers (1.0%). Local Government Educational Services accounted for the majority of the increase in Local Government with a gain of 1,300 workers (4.9%). State Government increased 400 workers (2.2%), with State Government Educational Services adding 500 workers (5.6%) over the month. Federal Government had a loss of 300 workers (2.5%).

Leisure and Hospitality had the largest over-the-month decline with a loss of 2,500 workers (5.7%). A majority of the loss took place in the Sioux Falls and Rapid City MSAs. This loss is consistent with historical trends, as tourist destinations reduce staff to match the decrease in visitors as weather turns cold.

Over-the-year comparisons

The total nonfarm wage and salaried worker level decreased by 12,900 workers (2.9%) from October 2019 to October 2020. The bulk of the over-the-year worker level losses are due to the current pandemic as establishments continue adjusting to combat the spread.

Leisure and Hospitality declined 6,100 workers (12.9%), dropping to 41,300 workers in October 2020. The current pandemic has played a huge role on the over-the-year worker level decline in Leisure and Hospitality. Many establishments have changed how they operate in order to lower the impact of COVID-19, with some having reduced staff compared to last year. Museums, arcades, zoos, casinos, fitness centers, hotels and restaurants are examples of establishments included in this supersector.

Education and Health Services dropped 2,600 workers (3.5%) over the year. Worker level losses in Health Care and Social Assistance accounted for a majority of this drop with a loss of 2,400 workers (3.6%). Health Care and Social Assistance has consistently had over-the-year losses since April 2020. Establishments in Health Care and Social Assistance include dentist offices, chiropractors, childcare centers, assisted living facilities and vocational rehabilitation agencies. Hospitals also showed an over-the-year decline, dropping 300 workers (1.2%). Educational Services dropped 200 workers (2.5%). This data includes private educational services; public educational services are included in government worker levels.

Manufacturing had an over-the-year drop of 1,800 workers (4.1%), declining to 42,600 workers in October 2020. Durable Goods decreased 1,900 workers (6.8%). Examples of Durable Goods include trailers, furniture and electronic equipment. Non-Durable Goods added 100 workers (0.6%) over the year. Non-Durable Goods include food and beverage products, paper products and fuel. Manufacturing has been on a downward trend since October 2019. Declines in worker levels are related to small worker level declines throughout many establishments along with challenges intensified by COVID-19 (such as supply chain issues and demand fluctuations).

Other Services (except Public Administration) had an over-the-year loss of 1,400 workers (8.1%). The bulk of the losses are due to the current pandemic, as many establishments have a reduced workforce compared to last year. Examples of establishments in this sector include beauty salons, car washes, funeral homes, wedding planning services, civic and social organizations, general automotive repair shops and pet boarding services.

Retail Trade declined 1,200 workers (2.4%) over the year, dropping to 49,800 workers in October 2020. Advances in technology and the current COVID-19 pandemic have both played a role in the worker level decline throughout this industry. Many stores have adjusted hours and updated procedures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Consumers have also changed how they shop and are able to make many purchases without entering a store. As this sector continues to evolve, worker levels will continue to fluctuate.

Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities decreased 1,200 workers (8.7%) from October 2019 to October 2020. Losses in Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities can be attributed to small drops throughout multiple establishments. Many establishments are constantly updating their protocols in order to combat the spread of COVID-19. 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.

Construction added 2,800 workers (11.3), reaching a level of 27,500 in October 2020. Specialty Trade Contractors paved the way to this growth with the addition of 1,700 workers (12.1%). Specialty Trade Contractors perform a specific activity, such as site preparation, pouring concrete, plumbing, painting or doing electrical work. Construction of Buildings added 600 workers (10.0%) over the year. Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction increased 500 workers (10.6%). Increases in Construction may be related to a rise in home remodeling projects. As more people spend time at home, many focused on home improvements.

Government declined 1,700 workers (2.1%) over the year. Local Government had a decrease of 1,400 workers (2.7%), with Local Government Education Services dropping 100 workers (0.4%). State Government had a loss of 700 workers (3.6%). State Government Educational Services dropped 800 workers (7.8%). Federal Government added 400 workers (3.5%) over the year, reaching 11,700 workers in October 2020.