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 53,675 in December 2017. 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 2017

Labor Force

This data is seasonally adjusted.

Preliminary estimates show the December 2017 South Dakota labor force increased over the month by 300 workers (0.1%) to 459,800 workers. The level of unemployed was unchanged and remained at 16,100.

South Dakota Unemployment Rates by County
Not seasonally adjusted
December 2017

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 1,100 (or 0.3 percent) from November 2017 to December 2017.

The Leisure and Hospitality sector decreased by 300 workers (0.7 percent) from November 2017 to December 2017.

Construction experienced the largest worker loss, decreasing by 1,800 workers (7.6 percent). Historically, worker levels in the construction sector peak in the summer as crews repair roads and highways and decline when temperatures fall.

Professional and Business Services increased by 400 workers (1.3 percent) to 31,700 in December 2017 compared to 31,300 in November.

Other Services had an over-the-month loss of 200 workers (1.2 percent).

Education and Health Services was unchanged over the month with 72,500 workers in December 2017.

Retail Trade increased over the month by 600 (1.2 percent) from 52,200 in November 2017 to 52,800 in December 2017.

Manufacturing increased to 42,800 in December 2017 up 300 workers (0.7 percent) from 42,500 in November 2017.

Financial Activities gained of 200 workers (0.7 percent).

Over-the-year comparisons

Based on a monthly survey of South Dakota establishments, preliminary estimates show the total nonfarm wage and salaried worker level increased by 3,100 (0.7 percent) from December 2016 to December 2017. Since 2005, the South Dakota total nonfarm worker level has continued to trend upward.

Leisure and Hospitality increased by 400 (0.9 percent) over the year to 44,800 workers in December 2017. Worker levels in this sector commonly fluctuate due to the seasonality of this sector. Worker level trends for this sector have been fairly consistent, as levels typically peak in August and dip to lower levels in January and February.

Retail Trade lost 2,000 workers (3.7 percent), decreasing to a level of 52,800 in December 2017.

The Construction sector levels rose over the year, with the employment level increasing by 300 workers (1.4 percent). Historically, worker levels in this industry hit highs during the summer months and decline when colder weather arrives.

Education and Health Services increased over the year to 72,500 in December 2017, gaining 800 workers (1.1 percent). The Education and Healthcare Services sector has remained fairly stable and has continued to trend upward. The aging population continued to impact the demand for health care services.

The Professional and Business Services sector increased over-the-year by 200 workers (0.6 percent) to 31,700.

The Wholesale Trade worker level decreased over the year by 400 workers (1.9 percent) to 20,900 workers in December 2017. The Wholesale Trade sector includes establishments engaged in wholesaling merchandise, as well as rendering services incidental to the sale of merchandise.

Manufacturing rose by 1,700 workers (4.1 percent) over the year. Worker levels had been steadily trending upward until the recession hit in 2009. Since then, worker levels have continued to trend upward overall. Durable Goods increased over-the-year by 1,200 workers (4.5 percent). Durable Goods, such as cars, refrigerators and mobile phones, are not for immediate consumption and are able to be kept for a period of time. Non-Durable Goods increased by 500 workers (3.4 percent). Non-Durable Goods are immediately consumed in one use or have a lifespan of less than three years. Examples of Non-Durable Goods are cosmetics, cleaning supplies, food and fuel.

The Other Services sector gained 200 workers (1.3 percent), rising to a level of 16,100 workers in December 2017. Other Services include a wide variety of activities, including repair and maintenance, personal and laundry services, religious, grant making, private households and other similar organizations. Historical trends reflect consistent fluctuations with worker levels increasing during the summer months and declining in the spring months.

Financial Activities gained 100 workers (0.3 percent), reaching a level of 30,000 workers in December 2017.

Government increased by 1,200 workers (1.5 percent) to a level of 81,700 in December 2017. The Government sector includes federal, state and local government agencies.