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South Dakota Adds 4,500 Jobs from 2015-2016

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that South Dakota added nearly 4,500 non-farm jobs from 2015 to 2016. The Education and Health sector led the way adding over 1,900 jobs year-over-year. The retail trade sector was also strong and creating 800 new jobs over the year. The natural resources/mining and construction sectors experienced the greatest percentage growth across the state at 3.4% and 2.7%, respectively.

Lincoln County boasted the strongest job growth in the state from in 2016, as 1,071 new jobs were created and employment increased by 5.4%. Not all counties enjoyed such robust growth, however. Mellette County experienced the largest percentage decline in jobs at 7.6% or 27 jobs. The top three leading and declining counties in terms of job growth can be seen below:

County Rank Annual Percent Change Total Jobs Lost or Gained
Lincoln 1 5.4 1071
Hamlin 2 4.8 88
Hanson 3 3.5 21
Grant 64 -6.1 -245
Jerauld 65 -6.1 -88
Mellette 66 -7.6 -27

Metro versus Non-Metro Areas

South Dakota’s metropolitan areas posted the greatest job growth in 2016, at 1.6%. The state’s micropolitan areas also posted job growth at 0.7%, while job growth in rural areas declined slightly at -0.4%.

The Brookings micropolitan area showed the greatest job growth out of the state’s micropolitan and metropolitan areas at 2.6%. Spearfish placed second at 2.0% followed by Sioux Falls at 1.8%. Mitchell and Watertown both experienced declines in job growth of -0.5% and -0.6% respectively.

South Dakota versus the U.S.Overall, South Dakota’s jobs growth increased by 1.0% from 2015-2016. That places  the state 36th among the 50 states for year-over-year job growth. Utah ranked No. 1 with 3.6% growth, while North Dakota fell in last place nationally with a 4.1% decline in job growth.Regionally, South Dakota placed ahead of Nebraska and Iowa, which had 0.8 and 0.6% job growth, respectively. Minnesota posted 1.4% growth, which was slightly ahead of Montana’s 1.3% growth.

Education/HealthFollowing a period of stagnation in 2013 and 2014, the education and health sector is seeing job growth. This sector, which accounts for over 103,000 jobs across the state, had a 1.9% increase from June 2015 to June 2016. The increase of 1,900 jobs makes it the third highest sector for raw job growth in the state.Financial IndustriesThe financial industries sector continued its recent trend of decline. 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.


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. The government sector has fluctuated significantly in recent years. In 2011 and 2012, the industry declined by 1.9 and 1.6%, respectively.  However, the government sector experienced growth in both 2009 and 2010, at 3.6 and 1.6%, respectively.

Leisure/HospitalityIn 2016 Leisure/Hospitality grew by 1.1%, marking a smaller increase in jobs from the 1.5% growth in 2015, and 1.8% growth in 2014. The leisure/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. ManufacturingIn 2016, manufacturing declined by 1.0%, with a loss of over 400 jobs. This marks the industry’s first decline since 2010, when the industry decline by 2.0%. 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 2016, 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. In 2016, the industry grew by 2.7%, slightly less than in 2014 and 2015 at 4.0 and 4.4%, respectively. Professional/Business ServicesThe category of professional/business services was up 1.9% in 2016, marking an increase of 606 jobs for the year. The industry has continued a trend of steady growth since 2010, following a significant 4.6%  in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

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