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Economic Output (GDP)

SD Has Lagged US GDP Growth for Four Consecutive Years

South Dakota has lagged the nation for growth of its gross domestic product (GDP) over four years -- from 2012 through 2015. The state's economy actually shrunk between 2011 and 2012.


South Dakota has lagged the nation for growth of its gross domestic product (GDP) over the past four years. The economy actually shrunk between 2011 and 2012 as GDP declined -0.9 percent, according to the federal data in the chart above. 

Between 2012 and 2015, the Rushmore State did not keep up with national GDP growth, as the chart shows. Still, the state logged a record $40.7 billion GDP in 2015.

The weakness in South Dakota's economy in recent years follows a period of expansion before and during the Great Recession when the rate of growth for the state's GDP exceeded that of the nation. For four years, between 2007 and 2009 and in 2011, South Dakota matched or bested national GDP growth. During the Great Recession between 2008 and 2009, when the US experienced a decline in GDP, South Dakota recorded 1 percent growth from 2008 to 2009. In 2011, as the economy recovered and corn prices rose, South Dakota recorded an eye-popping 5 percent increase in GDP growth. (The state's recent high for GDP growth came in 2002 at 10.8 percent.)

Among the 50 states, South Dakota's 1.8 percent GDP growth ranked 22nd in 2015, compared to No. 1 California, at 4.1 percent, and No. 50 North Dakota at -2.1 percent. (North Dakota actually dropped from No. 1 in 2014 at 6.0 percent to No. 50 in 2015 at -2.1 percent, likely due to the Bakken bust.) The growth in South Dakota’s gross domestic product was led by expansion in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sector, which increased on an inflation-adjusted basis from $3 billion to $3.2 billion, and retail trade, which rose from $2.9 billion to $3.1 billion

When looking at per-capita GDP, the picture is beginning to look better. Although South Dakota's inflation-adjusted, per-capita GDP declined from 2011 to 2014, it began to increase slightly in 2015 (from $46,917 to $47,460). South Dakota ranked 24th among the 50 states in 2015, compared to No. 1 Alaska at $66,835 and No. 50 Mississippi at $31,894.

Nationally, real per capita GDP has increased from $47,586 in 2011 to $49,844 in 2015. For just one year—2011—South Dakota's per capita GDP exceeded the national level, according to data that goes back to 1997. 

When looking at GDP per working-age adult, South Dakota fares better and exceeded the national rate for four straight years, 2009-2012. In 2013, the most recent year for which this subset of data is available, South Dakota's per working-age adult GDP was $74,757 compared to the national rate of $75,175. Before the recession, the gap was much wider, as much as $10,000 in 2001 and more in 2000. That gap diminished in the years leading up to 2008 and only tipped slightly away from South Dakota's favor in 2013. 


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