%@ Page Language="C#" %> Labor Market Information Center - Pandemic Picture

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 Dec. 23, 2021.

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

  • Currently, nearly 458,200 South Dakotans are employed, which is 8,900 more than in March 2020 before the pandemic began affecting our labor market.
  • South Dakota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 2.7% in November 2021.

Read more analysis of labor force data since the pandemic began in South Dakota. Monthly labor force data can be found in the virtual labor market data system using the link and instructions available from our Labor Force menu page.


Nonfarm Wage & Salaried Workers by Industry

Updated monthly; last updated Dec. 23, 2021.

Line graph of monthly statewide nonfarm wage and salaried worker levels in 2020, to show impact of COVID-19 pandemic
  • November 2021 estimates show South Dakota nonfarm establishments have recouped about 99.3% of the worker levels they had in March 2020.
  • The number of nonfarm wage and salaried workers in South Dakota decreased by 500 from October 2021 to November 2021. Declines are a result of worker level drops in Health Care and Social Assistance; Wholesale Trade; Professional and Business Services; Other Services (except Public Administration); and Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities.
  • Over the longer term since the pandemic first hit South Dakota, the greatest impact in nonfarm worker levels occurred from March to April 2020, with an unprecedented drop of 42,100 workers (9.6%).

Read more analysis of nonfarm worker data since the pandemic began in South Dakota. Monthly nonfarm worker data can be found in the virtual labor market data system using the link and instructions available from our Nonfarm Workers menu page

Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

Updated quarterly; last updated Dec. 23, 2021.

Line graph of South Dakota Monthly Employment from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

  • 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.
  • In 2021, the month of June had the highest monthly employment level since the pandemic struck, nearly reaching a historical high of 442,525. Although employment has declined since, QCEW data still indicates South Dakota has rebounded from the pandemic's greatest blows. The September 2021 (most current data available) worker level of 434,772 is 103.3 percent of the March 2020 level.
  • COVID-19’s impact on the total number of establishments reporting employment and wages was not nearly as severe overall as on employment levels. In fact, the reported number of establishments reached a historical high of 36,983 in the third quarter of 2021.

South Dakota
Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages
Month
Employment
January 2020 420,694
February 2020 421,268
March 2020 420,863
April 2020 387,234
May 2020 402,494
June 2020 415,888
July 2020 418,700
August 2020 422,802
September 2020 422,468
October 2020 426,022
November 2020 422,981
December 2020 423,927
January 2021 412,387
February 2021 413,202
March 2021 417,392
April 2021 425,430
May 2021 434,633
June 2021 442,525
July 2021* 438,749
August 2021* 438,908
September 2021* 434,772
Actual Change
from March 2020 to Most Current Data
13,909
Percent Change
from March 2020 to Most Current Data
3.3%
*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
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) 34,659 401,872 $912
Third Quarter 2020
(July through September)
35,166 421,323 $918
Fourth Quarter 2020
(October through December)
35,501 424,310 $1,048
First Quarter 2021
(January through March)
35,646 414,327 $932
Second Quarter 2021
(Apri through June)
36,278 434,196 $936
Third Quarter 2021*
(July through September)
36,983 437,476 $969
Actual Change
from First Quarter 2020 to Third Quarter 2021
2,341 16,534 $68
Percent Change
from First Quarter 2020 to Third Quarter 2021
6.8% 3.9% 7.5%
*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.