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Proportion of Adults Working

Fewer South Dakotans Working Compared to Previous Year

South Dakota posted higher percentages of adults working in 2015 than the national average, according to recent federal data. The 76.4 percent of adults working in 2015 declined slightly compared to 77.6 in 2014—which was the highest proportion of adults working in the state in over a decade. South Dakota’s decline in working adults puts the state at odds with national trends, as the United States saw a slight increase from 68.0 percent in 2014 to 68.7 percent in 2015. 

The Rushmore State performed well nationally, placing No. 5 in the nation for working adults. However, South Dakota lagged most other states in the region, including North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa. South Dakota outperformed only Wyoming in number of adults working in 2015.

The Sioux Falls Metro Area (Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha and Turner counties) still exceeded the statewide figure, but dipped slightly to 79.9 percent in 2015; down from 82.6 percent in 2014. The Rapid City Metro Area (Pennington, Meade and Custer counties), lagged the statewide rate. In 2015, 75.7 percent of adults were working, down from the 77.2 percent in 2014.

The percentage of teens and the share of seniors working decreased in 2015. In 2015, 46.1 of teenagers (ages 16-19) were employed, compared to 49.6 percent in 2014. Just 31.9 percent of seniors (ages 65-74) worked in 2015, down from 34.0 percent in 2014.

The rates for men and women working declined to 79.3 percent for men and 73.4 percent for women. These rates reflect an increase in the gender gap of 0.6 percent from 2014 to 2015.  

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