Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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Labor Market Information Center

Pandemic Picture: Impacts on the Labor Market

The following is a summary of workforce data indicators beginning in January 2020 through the most current labor market data available at any point in time, to provide a picture of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted South Dakota's labor economy.


Labor Force

Updated monthly; last updated Jan. 29, 2021.

Line graph of South Dakota monthly labor force, employment and unemployment levels in 2020, to illustrate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Employment decreased between November and December by 1,500 or 0.3% due to seasonal employment losses. As of the December 2020 employment estimates, South Dakota has gained back roughly 83% (28,000) of the employment lost in April.
  • South Dakota’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December was 3.2%, which is lower than the unemployment rate in March 2020 before the pandemic began.

South Dakota Labor Force Estimates
2020
Not Seasonally Adjusted
Month Labor
Force
Employed Unemployed Unemployment
Rate
January 461,820 444,256 17,564 3.8%
February 464,194 447,445 16,749 3.6%
March 465,585 449,860 15,725 3.4%
April 467,575 416,227 51,348 11.0%
May 464,374 421,705 42,669 9.2%
June 476,205 442,599 33,606 7.1%
July 473,798 444,916 28,882 6.1%
August 464,400 442,406 21,994 4.7%
September 462,748 445,369 17,379 3.8%
October 463,806 448,430 15,376 3.3%
November 461,207 445,726 15,481 3.4%
December* 458,878 444,236 14,642 3.2%
*Data is preliminary and subject to revision.
Source: Labor Market Information Center, SD Department of Labor and Regulation in cooperation with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Month-to-Month Changes in South Dakota Labor Force Estimates in 2020
Not Seasonally Adjusted
Over-the-Month Actual Change   Over-the-Month Percent Change
Labor
Force
Employed Unemployed Unemployment Rate   Labor
Force
Employed Unemployed
December '19 to January -1,633 -2,894 1,261 0.3%   -0.4% -0.6% 7.7%
January to February 2,374 3,189 -815 -0.2%   0.5% 0.7% -4.6%
February to March 1,391 2,415 -1,024 -0.2%   0.3% 0.5% -6.1%
March to April 1,990 -33,633 35,623 7.6%   0.4% -7.5% 226.5%
April to May -3,201 5,478 -8,679 -1.8%   -0.7% 1.3% -16.9%
May to June 11,831 20,894 -9,063 -2.1%   2.5% 5.0% -21.2%
June to July -2,407 2,317 -4,724 -1.0%   -0.5% 0.5% -14.1%
July to August -9,398 -2,510 -6,888 -1.4%   -2.0% -0.6% -23.8%
August to September -1,652 2,963 -4,615 -0.9%   -0.4% 0.7% -21.0%
September to October 1,058 3,061 -2,003 -0.5%   0.2% 0.7% -11.5%
October to November -2,599 -2,704 105 0.1%   -0.6% -0.6% 0.7%
November to December* -2,329 -1,490 -839 -0.2%   -0.5% -0.3% -5.4%
Source: Labor Market Information Center, SD Department of Labor and Regulation in cooperation with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Read more analysis of labor force data since the pandemic began in South Dakota.


Nonfarm Wage & Salaried Workers by Industry

Updated monthly; last updated Jan. 29, 2021.

Line graph of monthly statewide nonfarm wage and salaried worker levels in 2020, to show impact of COVID-19 pandemic
  • The number of nonfarm wage and salaried workers in South Dakota dipped from November to December 2020, with a loss of 200 workers across all industries.
  • Declines in worker levels are common in December as many seasonal establishments (Construction and Leisure and Hospitality) reduce their workforce as the weather turns cold.
  • The greatest impact in nonfarm worker levels occurred from March to April, when they had an unprecedented drop of 34,900 workers (8.1%).
  • The December estimates show South Dakota establishments have recouped about 99 percent of the worker levels they had in March 2020.
South Dakota Nonfarm Worker Levels
Not Seasonally Adjusted
Industry Jan.
2020
Feb.
2020
March
2020
April
2020
May
2020
June
2020
July
2020
Aug.
2020
Sept.
2020
Oct.
2020
Nov.
2020
Dec. 2020*
Total Nonfarm 431,600 434,900 433,000 398,100 411,000 426,600 424,500 428,900 432,000 432,000 429,300 429,100
Mining, Logging and Construction 22,700 22,900 23,200 25,200 27,800 29,800 29,900 29,800 29,300 28,500 26,800 25,800
  Mining and Logging 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,100 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,100 1,100 1,100 1,000
Construction 21,700 21,900 22,200 24,100 26,600 28,600 28,700 28,600 28,200 27,400 25,700 24,800
  Construction of Buildings 5,400 5,500 5,600 5,800 6,300 6,800 6,900 7,000 6,700 6,600 6,200 6,100
  Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction 3,200 3,200 3,400 4,200 5,000 5,400 5,500 5,400 5,300 5,200 4,200 3,500
  Specialty Trade Contractors 13,100 13,200 13,200 14,100 15,300 16,400 16,300 16,200 16,200 15,600 15,300 15,200
Manufacturing 43,300 43,400 43,600 42,800 43,000 43,200 42,400 41,900 42,000 42,700 42,900 43,000
  Durable Goods 27,100 27,300 27,400 27,000 27,400 27,600 27,000 26,500 26,400 26,400 26,500 26,600
  Non-Durable Goods 16,200 16,100 16,200 15,800 15,600 15,600 15,400 15,400 15,600 16,300 16,400 16,400
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities 85,300 85,100 84,400 78,800 80,400 83,000 83,100 83,500 82,700 83,600 85,000 85,900
  Wholesale Trade 21,200 21,200 21,200 20,700 20,900 21,100 20,800 20,700 20,400 21,000 21,000 20,900
  Retail Trade 50,300 50,300 49,900 45,900 47,200 49,500 49,600 50,000 49,700 49,900 50,900 52,000
  Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities 13,800 13,600 13,300 12,200 12,300 12,400 12,700 12,800 12,600 12,700 13,100 13,000
Information 5,400 5,400 5,300 5,200 5,200 5,300 5,300 5,300 5,200 5,100 5,100 5,100
Financial Activities 28,900 28,900 28,900 28,900 29,100 29,400 29,200 29,300 29,000 29,300 29,400 29,800
Professional and Business Services 33,100 33,400 33,100 32,400 32,900 33,600 33,900 33,700 33,600 34,000 34,200 34,300
Education and Health Services 73,800 74,700 74,800 68,800 69,700 69,700 69,900 70,400 71,300 71,500 72,200 72,400
  Educational Services 7,300 8,000 7,800 6,600 6,400 6,000 5,900 6,200 7,400 7,600 7,800 7,600
  Health Care and Social Assistance 66,500 66,700 67,000 62,200 63,300 63,700 64,000 64,200 63,900 63,900 64,400 64,800
    Hospitals 26,000 26,100 26,200 25,400 25,400 25,500 25,600 25,700 25,600 25,600 25,600 25,800
Leisure and Hospitality 43,600 44,200 42,300 26,500 34,800 42,900 46,300 46,400 43,800 41,500 38,800 38,400
Other Services (except Public Administration) 16,400 16,400 16,500 14,600 15,000 15,400 15,300 15,500 15,800 15,900 15,900 16,100
Government 79,100 80,500 80,900 74,900 73,100 74,300 69,200 73,100 79,300 79,900 79,000 78,300
  Federal Government 11,200 11,100 11,300 11,400 11,500 11,700 11,300 12,100 12,000 11,700 11,500 11,700
  State Government 17,600 19,000 18,700 16,800 16,400 15,800 15,500 16,400 18,200 18,400 18,100 17,100
    State Government Educational Services 8,900 10,100 9,900 8,200 7,500 6,300 6,200 7,100 9,000 9,300 9,300 8,200
  Local Government 50,300 50,400 50,900 46,700 45,200 46,800 42,400 44,600 49,100 49,800 49,400 49,500
    Local Government Educational Services 27,400 27,700 27,900 26,100 23,500 23,200 18,700 21,100 26,400 27,400 27,300 27,300

*Data is preliminary and subject to revision.
Source: Labor Market Information Center, South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, in cooperation with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Read more analysis of nonfarm worker data since the pandemic began in South Dakota.


Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

Updated quarterly; last updated Jan. 29, 2021.

Line graph showing monthly QCEW employment in 2020

Bar and line graph showing QCEW number of establishments and average employment by quarter since the pandemic hit South Dakota

  • While employment levels started out strong in early 2020 before the pandemic hit South Dakota, employers reported nearly 34,000 fewer workers in April than for March. Employment levels have since recovered back to March levels, with August and September both reaching approximately 422,000.
  • While the employment level in August was a full recovery to the previous 2020 high recorded in February, it was not nearly as high as historically typical for August. In 2019, August employment was 439,662, whereas in 2020 August employment was 422,946.
  • COVID-19’s impact on the total number of establishments reporting employment and wages was not nearly as severe overall as on employment levels. The reported number of establishments reached a historical high of 35,162 in the third quarter of 2020. There was also a slightly larger gain in establishments in 2020 compared to 2019 from second quarter to third quarter. In 2020, the total number of establishments increased 1.5% between the two quarters, whereas 2019 saw a 0.5% increase.

South Dakota Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages
2020
Month Employment
January 2020 420,694
February 2020 421,268
March 2020 420,863
April 2020 387,238
May 2020 402,499
June 2020 416,160
July 2020* 418,634
August 2020* 422,946
September 2020* 422,298
Actual Change
from March 2020 to
Most Current Data
1,435
Percent Change
from March 2020 to
Most Current Data
0.3%
*Preliminary data; subject to revision.
Source: Labor Market Information Center, SD Department of Labor and Regulation in cooperation with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

South Dakota Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages
2020
Month Number of Establishments Average
Employment
Average
Weekly
Wages
First Quarter 2020 (January through March) 34,642 420,942 $901
Second Quarter 2020 (April through June) 34,657 401,966 $912
Third Quarter 2020* (July through September) 35,162 421,293 $918
Actual Change from First Quarter 2020 to Most Current Data 15 -18,976 $11
Percent Change from First Quarter 2020 to Most Current Data 0.0% -4.5% 1.2%
Actual Change from Second Quarter 2020 to Third Quarter 2020 505 19,327 $6
Percent Change from Second Quarter 2020 to Third Quarter 2020 1.5% 4.8% 0.7%
*Preliminary data; subject to revision.
Source: Labor Market Information Center, SD Department of Labor and Regulation in cooperation with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Learn more about the QCEW program and the availability of data since the pandemic began.