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 51,435 in December 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
December 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 2.0% in December 2023. The labor force increased over the month by 200 workers (0.0%) to 485,400 workers. The level of unemployed remained steady with 9,900 workers.

South Dakota's December 2023 labor force of 485,400 increased compared to the December 2022 level of 475,100. The level of employed increased by 10,700 (2.3%); the level of unemployed decreased by 400 persons (3.9%). The unemployment rate decreased 0.2% to 2.0%.

South Dakota Unemployment Rates by County

December 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 decreased by 700 (0.1%) from November 2023 to December 2023. This is lower than the traditional November to December losses in the state. Over the last 10 years, worker levels have had an average loss of 1,200 workers from November to December.

Private Education and Health Services declined 900 (1.1%), dropping to 78,900 workers in December 2023. This loss took place primarily outside of the Sioux Falls and Rapid City Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). While the Rapid City MSA added 100 workers over the month, the Sioux Falls MSA had a loss of 200. Statewide, Health Care and Social Assistance worker levels fell 500 (0.7%) over the month. This loss is due to small drops in worker levels spread throughout many of the establishments in this sector. Hospitals remained unchanged with 29,200 workers. Establishments in Health Care and Social Assistance include dentist offices, chiropractors, childcare centers, assisted living facilities and vocational rehabilitation agencies. Private Educational Services decreased 400 (4.3%). Declines in Private Educational Services are common this time of year with some establishments beginning winter break.

Construction had a loss of 700 workers (2.4%) over the month. Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction declined 500 (10.4%). Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction includes establishments in highway concrete paving, land subdivision, gas main construction, underground cable laying and water main construction. Specialty Trade Contractors and Construction of Buildings also had declines over the month, each dropping 100 workers in December 2023. Construction has had an average loss of 1,200 workers from November to December over the last 10 years. While declines in worker levels are expected this time of year, this loss was lessened by good weather that extended the Construction season.

Leisure and Hospitality worker levels fell 1.3% over the month with a loss of 600 workers. Establishments included in this supersector are museums, zoos, hotels, restaurants, and golf courses. Declines in Leisure and Hospitality are expected this time of year as establishments reduce staff worker levels to match a drop in visitors as the weather turns colder. Worker levels in this supersector typically peak in August and dip to lower levels in January and February.

Other Services (except Public Administration) gained 500 workers (2.7%). 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. Increased population growth drives the demand for services provided in this sector.

Retail Trade gained 400 workers (0.7%). Most of this growth took place in the Sioux Falls MSA (300 workers). Warehouse clubs, sporting goods retailers, car dealerships, department stores, hardware stores, supermarkets, and gasoline stations are examples of establishments in this sector. Worker level gains are typical in December as retailers increase worker levels for the holiday shopping season.

Manufacturing worker level ticked up in December with the addition of 400 workers (0.9%). Durable Goods gained 300 workers (1.0%), reaching 29,200 workers in December 2023. Durable Goods are not immediately consumed and can be kept for a longer time. Non-Durable Goods Manufacturing added 100 workers (0.6%). Non-Durable Goods are immediately consumed in one use or have a lifespan of less than three years. Growth is spread throughout many of the establishments in this sector.

Over-the-year comparisons

The total nonfarm wage and salaried worker level increased by 13,800 workers (3.0%) from December 2022 to December 2023. The top contributors to this growth were Construction; Private Education and Health Services; Professional and Business Services; and Government.

Construction added the largest number of workers over the year at 4,300 (17.8%). Worker levels went from 24,100 in December 2022 to 28,400 in December 2023. Population growth along with favorable weather played a role in this growth. December 2022 was filled with blizzards and extremely low temperatures while December 2023 had much more favorable weather conditions extending the construction season. Specialty Trade Contractors added 2,400 workers (16.3%) over the year. Specialty Trade Contractors perform a specific activity, such as site preparation, pouring concrete, plumbing, painting or doing electrical work. Construction of Buildings continued trending up over the year, adding 1,000 workers (16.7%). Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction had an increase of 900 workers (26.5%).

Private Education and Health Services worker levels rose 3.1% over the year with the addition of 2,400 workers. Most of this growth took place in the Sioux Falls MSA (1,600 workers) and the Rapid City MSA (600 workers). Statewide, Health Care and Social Assistance increased 1,700 workers (2.5%). Hospitals added 1,000 workers (3.5%), jumping to 29,200 workers in December 2023. Private Educational Services also showed strong gains over the year, adding 700 workers (8.6%). This growth is related to increases in population and medical advancements, both increasing the need for workers.

Professional and Business Services added 1,700 workers (4.7%), jumping to 38,200 workers in December 2023. A majority of this growth took place outside the Sioux Falls and Rapid City MSAs. The Sioux Falls and Rapid City MSAs each added 100 workers over the year. Professional and Business Services has a wide range of services frequently used by other businesses and occasionally households. Tax return preparation services, engineering consulting services, computer software consulting services, centralized administrative offices, temporary staffing services and garbage collection services are examples of establishments included in this supersector. This type of growth indicates other businesses are growing at a rate where additional professional services are required.

Government increased 2,200 workers (2.7%) over the year. Local Government added 1,400 workers (2.7%) with Local Government Educational Services adding 900 workers (3.2%). State Government also had over-the-year growth, adding 500 workers (2.8%). State Government Educational Services worker levels increased 300 (3.2%). Federal Government added 300 workers (2.7%). As the population rises, city programs and services also expand to meet the needs of the community.