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South Dakota Adds 2,000 Jobs from 2016-2017

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that South Dakota added nearly 2,000 non-farm jobs from 2016 to 2017. The Education and Health sector led the way adding over 1,900 jobs year-over-year. The manufacturing sector was also strong and created a little over 900 news jobs over the year. The retail trade sector saw a small decline from 2016 to 2017, going from 53,885 to 53,002 total jobs.

Lincoln County boasted the strongest job growth in the state from in 2017 in sheer numbers, as 1,137 new jobs were created and employment increased by 5.5%. Not all counties enjoyed such robust growth, however. Mellette County experienced the largest percentage decline in jobs at 7.6% or 27 jobs.

Metro versus Non-Metro Areas

For South Dakota’s metropolitan areas, Rapid City, Sioux City, and Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls saw the most jobs added in 2017, with a growth rate of 1.5%, followed closely by Rapid City, which saw a growth rate of 1.4%. The Sioux City metropolitan area saw a decline in jobs with a growth rate of -1.7% - a loss of 1,517 jobs from 2016.

The Vermillion micropolitan area showed the greatest job growth out of the state’s micropolitan and metropolitan areas at 2.8%. Sioux Falls placed second at 1.5% followed by Rapid City at 1.4%. The Mitchell micropolitan and Sioux City metropolitan areas both experienced declines in job growth, -2.3% and -1.7%, respectively.

South Dakota versus the U.S.Overall, South Dakota’s jobs growth increased by 0.5% from 2016-2017. That places the state at 37th among the 50 states for year-over-year job growth (tied with Oklahoma and Mississippi). Idaho ranked No. 1 with 3.3% growth, while Alaska fell in last place nationally with a -1.4% decline in job growth. Regionally, South Dakota placed ahead of North Dakota and Wyoming, which saw declines in job growth, -0.9% and -1.0%, respectively. South Dakota posted 0.5% growth, which was slightly behind Montana’s 0.9% growth.


Following a period of stagnation in 2013 and 2014, the education and health sector continues to see job growth. This sector, which accounts for over 105,571 jobs across South Dakota, added approximately 1,900 jobs between 2016 and 2017. This represents 25.2% of all jobs in South Dakota, making the health and education sector the largest employment sector in the state.

Financial Industries

The financial industries sector has continued its recent trend of decline in South Dakota. The industry declined by 1.1% in 2016, losing over 330 jobs. This decline has increased from 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, when the industry declined by 0.2 and 0.3%, respectively. Between 2016 and 2017, the financial industries sector declined by 812 jobs, or approximately 2.8%.


After stalling in 2014-2015, the government sector rebounded in 2015-2016 with an addition of 338 jobs, or 1.3% growth over the previous year. In 2017, the government sector saw a percent increase of 0.4%, or 115 added jobs. The government sector makes up approximately 6.4% of all jobs in South Dakota.


In 2017 the Leisure and Hospitality sector grew by 0.48%%, marking a smaller increase in jobs from the 1.1% growth in 2016, and 1.5% growth in 2015. The leisure and hospitality sector has seen relatively stable growth over the years, with the exception of a 0.9% decline following the Great Recession in 2008, during which the industry lost nearly 400 jobs.


In 2017, manufacturing grew in South Dakota by 2.2%, with an addition of 924 jobs. This is a significant increase from 2016, which marked the industry’s first decline since 2010. The largest decline in manufacturing jobs in the Rushmore State occurred in 2009, when the industry lost nearly 5,000 jobs, an 11.7% contraction. The industry has since recovered, with the largest job gains occurring in 2011 and 2012, with the creation of over 4,000 jobs.

Natural Resources/Mining

The natural resources/mining sector produced the greatest percentage job growth in South Dakota in 2017, at 3.4%. The industry has seen significant gains since 2003, with the most significant job growth occurring in 2008 at 7.2%. Natural Resources/Mining was one of three in South Dakota that did not post job losses in 2009 following the Great Recession. Education and government also experienced job growth following the recession.


Jobs in the construction industry have seen continued growth since 2013, following two years of stagnation from 2011 to 2012. However, in 2017, the industry shrank by 2.1%, with a total loss of 486 jobs.  

Professional/Business Services

The category of professional/business services was down 2.9% in 2017, marking an decrease of 937 jobs for the year. Until this downturn he industry had enjoyed a trend of steady growth in South Dakota since 2010, following a significant 4.6% increase in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

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