Department of Labor and Regulation

Title - Labor Market Information Center

Rapid City Metro Area Profile - Local Employment Dynamics (LED)

About the Rapid City Metro Area

In order to qualify as a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), an area must have at least one urbanized area with a population of 50,000 or more, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties. The Rapid City MSA consists of Custer, Meade and Pennington counties.

Rapid City MSA map


The following tables compare the area's total employment, new hires and average wages by age and gender for the first quarters of 2013 and 2014.

Total Employment

Total Employment: The estimate of the total number of jobs on the first day of the reference quarter. Each job a person has is included; therefore multiple jobholders are counted more than once.

In the first quarter of 2014, jobs totaled 59,151 for the Rapid City MSA, a 2.3 percent increase (1,314 jobs gained) over the year. The Finance and Insurance, Accommodations and Food Service, and Construction sectors each gained more than 200 jobs. The Retail Trade sector lost the most jobs (188) and had the second highest percentage loss (-2.0 percent) when compared to the same quarter in 2013. The Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting sector's employment levels increased the most at 15.5 percent, but due to the relatively small size of the industry, this translates to 18 added jobs. With a loss of 16 jobs, the Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction sector lost about 20 percent of its jobs over the year. It was the only sector to decline more than 2.0 percent. This sector only made up 0.1 percent total employment in the Rapid City MSA.

Employment by Age

Those 65 to 99 years had the greatest increase at 9.3 percent. The 22 to 24 and 14 to 18 groups each increased by more than 6 percent. The Retail Trade and Health Care and Social Assistance sectors provided jobs for more than one-third of the eldest workers. For the youngest workers, 75.0 percent worked in either the Accommodation and Food Services sector or the Retail Trade sector. Almost 60 percent of the 22- to 24-year-olds had jobs in the three sectors mentioned above.

Two age groups had job losses over the year. The 45- to 54-year-olds experienced the greatest job losses numerically (213 jobs lost, equaling a 1.7 percent decline), with more than 100 of the job losses in the Retail Trade sector. The 19- to 21-year olds had a greater percentage drop (89 jobs for 3.3 percent loss). This age group's greatest percentage loss occurred in Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, but this sector only made up 0.2 percent of jobs among this group. Of sectors that made up more than 5.0 percent of the age group's jobs, the Accommodation and Food Services sector had the greatest percentage decline at 10.7 percent.

Rapid City MSA Total Employment by Worker Age

Rapid City MSA Total Employment Over-the-year Change by Age Group

Employment by Gender and Age

In the Rapid City MSA, the workforce was 52 percent female and 48 percent male during the first quarter of 2014.

Pie Chart of Rapid City MSA Percentage of Workers by Gender

More than half of the Rapid City MSA's female workforce worked in Health Care and Social Assistance, Retail Trade, and Accommodation and Food Services. The Health Care and Social Assistance sector employed more than one-quarter of female workers.

Women ages 19 to 21 years had the greatest decline with a 4.2 percent loss. The eldest age group and those 22 to 24 tied at 7.4 percent for the greatest increase.

About half of the Rapid City MSA's male workforce worked in Retail Trade, Construction, Accommodation and Food Services, or Health Care and Social Assistance. The Retail Trade sector employed more than 16 percent of male workers.

Like their female counterparts, employment levels for males 19 to 21 years declined the most ( 2.4 percent). Employment levels for males 65 to 99 years increased by 11 percent, the greatest increase over the year.

Rapid City MSA Total Employment by Age and Gender

Hiring Activity

New Hires: The estimated number of workers who started a new job. More specifically, total hires who worked for an employer in the specified quarter and were not employed by that employer in any of the previous four quarters. New hire activity is heavily affected by seasonality and economic influences.

In the Rapid City MSA, total new hires increased 3.9 percent from 2013 to 2014 (first quarters).The Retail Trade sector gained the most new hires (153), followed by Accommodation and Food Services (94); new hire jobs in the Finance and Insurance sector declined the most (down 145) when compared to the first quarter of 2013.

New Hires by Age

The 25 to 34 year age group made up 27.4 percent of the new hires in the first quarter of 2014 (the most of any age group). With an 18.8 percent gain over the year, the 55- to 64-year-olds took the top spot in new hire growth. The 22- to 24-year-olds were the only age group with lower new hire levels over the year.

Rapid City MSA New Hires

Rapid City MSA New Hires Over-the-year Change

New Hires by Gender and Age

In the Rapid City MSA, the new hires for the first quarter of 2014 were 48 percent female and 52 percent male.

Rapid City MSA Percentage of New Hires by Gender

More than 30 percent of female new hires were employed in the Accommodations and Food Services sector. An additional 30 percent of the Rapid City MSA's female new hire jobs were in Health Care and Social Assistance or Retail Trade.

New hires for females increased by more than 20 percent in the two eldest age groups. New hires fell 10.7 percent in the 22 to 24 year group.

The Accommodations and Food Services sector also employed the most male new hires at 26.2 percent; more than half of the Rapid City MSA's male new hires worked in Accommodations and Food Services, Construction or Retail Trade.

At 15.4 percent, males 55 to 64 years had the highest percentage increase in new hire levels for males. With less than a 1 percent drop, the 22- to 24-year-olds were the only male new hire group to decline over the year.

Rapid City MSA New Hires by Gender and Age


Average monthly earnings: The average monthly earnings of employees with stable jobs (worked at the same firm for the entire quarter). Earnings measures are a mix of full-time and part-time jobs (not adjusted for hours).

In the Rapid City MSA, earnings rose 3.2 percent from 2013 to 2014 (first quarters).

Earnings by Age

Earnings for all age groups rose at least 2 percent over the year. The three age groups comprised of those 35 to 64 years old earned wages that surpassed $3,500 per month on average for the first quarter of 2014; those in the 45 to 54 age group were $9 shy of averaging $4,000 per month. On the opposite end of the pay scale, the youngest workforce members (14- to 18-year-olds) earned about $500 per month on average. The 35- to 44-year-olds' wages increased by 5.7 percent over the year, the greatest percentage increase among the age groups.

Rapid City MSA Average Monthly Earnings

Rapid City MSA Average Monthly Earnings Over-the-year Change

Earnings by Gender and Age

Overall, women's average monthly earnings increased by 1.3 percent; none of the female age groups earnings declined over the year. Earnings for women 65 to 99 years old increased the most at 5.4 percent.

Overall, men's average monthly earnings increased 4.4 percent. None of the male earnings declined over the year. The 35- to 44-year-olds' average earnings increased the most at 7.7 percent.

Rapid City MSA Average Monthly Earnings by Gender and Age

Rapid City MSA On The Map

The following graphics provide labor shed data (where people in the area live and work) for the Rapid City MSA. At the beginning of the second quarter in 2011 (the most current data available), 86.9 percent of the workers who lived in the Rapid City MSA had a primary job in the MSA. The other 13.1 percent lived in the MSA, but worked outside the area. Of those employed in the area, 17.6 percent commute from outside the MSA. A primary job is the highest paying job for an individual worker. Primary jobs are public- and private-sector jobs, one job per worker.

Rapid City MSA Job Flow Chart

Rapid City MSA labor shed map

About the Local Employment Dynamics (LED) Data

The LED partnership is the cornerstone of a program designed to develop new information about local labor markets. This partnership between state labor market information agencies and the Census Bureau supplies new measures known as Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI). The LED data compiled throughout this report by the U.S. Census Bureau is not reflective of labor market reports from other Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) programs.

Note: Federal government employment is not generally included in the QWI data. Exempted employment varies slightly from state to state due to variations in state unemployment laws, but generally also excludes many farmers and agricultural employees, domestic workers, self-employed non-agricultural workers, members of the Armed Services, some state and local government employees as well as certain types of nonprofit employers and religious organizations (which are given a choice of coverage or non-coverage in a number of states).

How is confidentiality addressed in the data?

The Census Bureau and the state partners are committed to protecting the confidentiality of the data in the LED files. Technically, the approach to avoid disclosure of individual information combines cell suppression methodology with the addition of statistical noise, controlling key measures to county employment levels as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

You can easily access the LED data tools on the U.S. Census Bureau's website. The Labor Market Information Center's economic analysts are familiar with the tools and are available to assist you. Please contact us as needed for assistance.

Marcia Hultman, Secretary
700 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501-2291
Tel. 605.773.3101
Fax. 605.773.6184