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 53,590 in September 2018. 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
September 2018

Map of labor supply estimates by county

Labor Force

This data is seasonally adjusted.

Preliminary estimates show the September 2018 South Dakota labor force decreased over the month by 200 workers (0.0 percent) to 458,600 workers. The level of unemployed decreased by 300 workers (2.1 percent) to 13,700 workers.

South Dakota Unemployment Rates by County
Not seasonally adjusted
September 2018

Map of unemployment rates by county

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 4,100 (0.9 percent) from August 2018 to September 2018. Over the last 15 years, worker levels have continuously produced a loss over the August to September time frame. This decline may be attributed to the end of summer and the beginning of the school year as students and educational staff move from summer jobs to educational institutions. Worker level gains came from Government and Education and Health Services.

Government had the most substantial gain with a growth of 4,800 workers (6.3 percent) from August 2018 to September 2018. State Government and Local Government contributed to majority of this increase with the addition of 2,000 (11.6 percent) and 2,700 (5.7 percent) workers, respectively. Federal Government also contributed a gain adding 100 workers (0.9 percent) over the month.

Education and Health Services increased by 700 workers (1.0 percent) over the month. Educational Services accounted for this increase adding 1,100 workers (17.5 percent). Health Care and Social Assistance dropped 0.6 percent over the month with a loss of 400 workers.

Leisure and Hospitality had a decrease of 5,800 workers (10.6 percent) over the month as summer came to an end. Historically, worker levels in the Leisure and Hospitality supersector peak in the summer and decline when temperatures fall.

Retail Trade had a decrease of 1,800 workers (3.4 percent) from August 2018 to September 2018. Over the last 10 years, Retail Trade has consistently produced an over-the-month loss from August to September. This sector’s worker levels vary throughout the year, producing higher numbers during holidays and for back-to-school shopping.

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 7,700 workers (1.8 percent) from September 2017 to September 2018. Since 2010, the South Dakota total nonfarm worker level has continued to trend upward. Top contributors to this gain were Professional and Business Services; Construction; Manufacturing; Government; and Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities.

Professional and Business Services rose by 8.0 percent adding 2,500 workers over the year. This growth is a good indication that other industries are expanding to the point they need additional help from professional and business services. Temporary staffing services, payroll processing services, consulting services, head offices and security guard services are examples of establishments in this supersector.

Manufacturing increased by 1,500 (3.5 percent) over the year going from 43,400 workers in September 2017 to 44,900 workers in September 2018. Durable Goods and Non-Durable Goods both produced gains over the year adding 1,000 (3.6 percent) and 500 (3.2 percent) workers, respectively. Durable Goods, such as cars, refrigerators and mobile phones, are not immediately consumed and can be kept for a longer time. Non-Durable Goods, such as cosmetics, cleaning supplies, food and fuel, are immediately consumed in one use or have a lifespan of less than three years.

Other Services had an increase of 600 workers (3.6 percent) over the year. This sector went from 16,700 in September 2017 to 17,300 in September 2018. Car repair shops, hair stylist salons, dry cleaning services, personal chef services and religious organizations are examples of establishments included in this sector.

Retail Trade had a 2.9 percent decrease over the year with the loss of 1,500 workers. Retail Trade has been on a downward trend since the last over-the-year increase in January 2017. The decline in workers may be due to the increase in online shopping and the convenience of shopping on phone apps.

Construction rose by 1,800 workers (7.6 percent) going from 23,700 workers in September 2017 to 25,500 workers in September 2018. Specialty Trade Contractors added 1,100 workers (8.0 percent) over the year to 14,800 workers in September 2018. Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction had a 12.2 percent gain adding 500 workers over the year. Construction of Buildings also reported a gain over the year with the addition of 200 workers (3.4 percent).

Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities added 800 workers (6.0 percent) over the year to 14,200 workers in September 2018. Examples of establishments in this industry include local and long-distance trucking, rural bus services, water treatment plants, postal delivery services, and refrigerated warehousing.

Government continued its upward trend with a 1.1 percent increase with the addition of 900 workers from September 2017 to September 2018. Local and Federal Government contributed to this upward trend while State Government hand no worker level changes over the year. Local Government added 700 workers (1.4 percent) over the year with Local Government Educational Services accounting for majority of this gain and the Federal Government had an increase of 200 workers (1.8 percent).