International exports from South Dakota totaled $1.6 billion in 2014, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Canada was the state’s largest trading partner, accounting for $715 million or 44.9 percent of the state’s total merchandise exports, while goods sold to Mexico totaled $344 million.

Food & Kindred Products accounted for nearly a third, $552 million, of South Dakota’s total merchandise exports in 2014. The category for Machinery, Except Electrical, finished second with $330 million in sales.

Sioux Falls dramatically outpaced Rapid City in total exports, with $433 million in sales, compared to $30 million.

For more information, see the U.S. Department of Commerce report.

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Agriculture's impact on Sioux Falls is difficult to measure, according to a report in the Argus Leader. 

According to officials the city's two-cent sales taxs brought in $117.3 million in sales tax revenue in 2014. City Finance Director Tracy Turback alleges that agriculture-related taxable sales make up less that one percent of that total. 

The 2014 Municipal Tax Report shows $2,655,128,31 in veterinary services for livestock and other livestock services, $796,582.65 in farm machinery and equipment sales, $10,692,057.95 in farm supplies, and $3,690,382.54 in farm and garden machinery and equipment sales under wholesale trade. All of that combined totals just over $17.8 million.

Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Heuther says that he doesn't need to see numbers to know ag's impact on his city. He states that rural South Dakota is coming to the big city all the time to do business.

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Tuesday, 03 March 2015 17:00

South Dakota Lost 300 Farms in 2014

The number of South Dakota farms dropped by 300 in 2014, down to 31,700, reports the Tri-State Neighbor.

According to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Services, the number of operations making more than $100,000 in sales increased by 100 while the number of those with sales less than $100,000 dropped by 400. 

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports that South Dakota's farm and ranch land totaled 43.3 million acres, the same as 2013. The average size for a farm or ranch was 1,366 acres. 

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Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:00

SD No. 4 For Deficient Bridges

With 20 percent of its bridges deemed structurally deficient, South Dakota is near the top nationally on that score, reports the Washington Post. The Rushmore State is within a few percentage points of the No. 1 spot, and well ahead of some states that have rates in the low single digits. 

South Dakota's neighboring states of Iowa and Nebraska are in the same boat, with No. 3 Iowa approaching 21 percent and No. 6 Nebraska at more than 17 percent. Rhode Island is No. 1 at 22.72 percent, while Pennsylvania is No 2 at 22.26 percent. 

In South Dakota, 1,174 of our 5,872 bridges are deemed deficient, which means engineers have found at least one component in need of repair. 

When bridge engineers evaluate a bridge, they grade the condition of each of its major components -- its supports, the deck that vehicles travel across, etc. -- on a 0 to 9 scale. If any of these components receive a grade below a given threshold, the bridge is deemed structurally deficient. It needs some repair work to get back up to snuff.

Former national Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has said these bridges are not necessarily "unsafe" but that they are "dangerous." 


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Monday, 19 January 2015 17:00

Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade Surge in SD

The manufacturing sector is on a tear in South Dakota, accounting for more than half of the 3,500 jobs created statewide between November 2013 and November 2014, according to recently updated federal data

The wholesale trade sector runs a close second, with 1,400 new jobs over the 12-month period compared to manufacturing's 1,800 new jobs. Government and "other services" tie for the No. 3 spot with 800 new jobs in each sector. 

Three sectors shed jobs during that time - leisure/hospitality (-700), education/health (-600) and retail trade (-500). 

Statewide, jobs grew by 0.8 percent from November 2013 to November 2014, for 422,200 jobs and ranking South Dakota 41st nationally. Oil-boom states North Dakota and Texas led the nation, with job growth rates of 4.9 percent and 3.9 percent respectively. Mississippi and Alaska ranked at the bottom for job growth and were the only two states to lose jobs in the 12-month period, down 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent respectively. 

South Dakota's recent job growth appears concentrated in the metropolitan areas, with jobs flat in the micropolitan and non-metropolitan areas. 

Find much more data, exportable images and downloadable files about Jobs on the South Dakota Dashboard.

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Monday, 12 January 2015 17:00

Deuel County No. 1 for Homeownership in SD

Deuel County ranks No. 1 statewide for homeownership with a rate of 85 percent, according to recently updated data from the U.S. Census

Statewide, the homeownership rate was 67.2 percent in 2013 compared to 63.5 percent nationally, both below prerecession rates of 69.2% and 66.6% respectively in 2008. Over the five-year period (2009-2013), the statewide homeownership rate was 68 percent.

Here's a look at the top 5 counties for homeownership: 

 County  Rank  Rate
 Deuel   1st  85%
 Hanson   2nd  83.5%
 Potter   3rd  81.4%
 Aurora   4th  80.6%
 McCook   5th  80.1%

Each of South Dakota's five counties with the lowest rates of homeownership are on an American Indian reservation. 

 County  Rank  Rate
 Buffalo   66th  37.3%
 Todd   65th  46.5%
 Ziebach   64th  51.7%
 Bennett   63rd  52.4%
 Shannon   62nd  52.5%

Statewide, the homeownership rate was 67.2 percent in 2013 compared to 63.5 percent nationally, both below prerecession rates of 69.2% and 66.6% respectively in 2008. Over the five-year period (2009-2013), the statewide homeownership rate was 68 percent.

At the same time, South Dakotans living in non-metro areas were more likely than those in metropolitan and micropolitan areas. 

 Status  Rate (2009-13)
 Non-metropolitan      70.2%
 Metropolitan      68%
 Micropolitan      66.3%

Here's a look at the highest and lowest rates among South Dakota cities from a list of the state's 27 most populous municipalities. 

 City    Rank    Rate
 Harrisburg    1st    83.9%
 Tea    2nd    76.7%
 Dell Rapids   3rd    74.8%
 Hartford   4th    71.8%
 Brandon   5th    71.5%
 Mobridge   23rd    53.6%
 Spearfish   24th    49.4%
 Brookings   25th    47.3%
 Box Elder   26th    46.7%
 Vermillion   27th    43.3%

Homeowners in South Dakota are more likely to be white than of color. The homeownership rate for whites was 71.6 percent (2009-2013), compared to a rate of 36.9 percent for American Indians and 38.2 percent for others of color. Homeownership ranges widely on South Dakota's American Indian reservations, from 68 percent on the Lake Traverse reservation to 30.8 percent on the Crow Creek reservation. 

Find much more data on interactive charts, plus downloadable files and images on the Homeownership page on the South Dakota Dashboard


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By Northern Plains News
The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new report detailing changes of groundwater levels in the High Plains Aquifer.
The report presents water-level change data in the aquifer for two separate periods: from 1950 — the time before significant groundwater irrigation development — to 2013, and 2011 to 2013. Find state-by-state information for each year back to 1980 online through the USGS.
“The measurements made from 2011 to 2013 represent a large decline,” said Virginia McGuire, USGS scientist and lead author of the study. “This amount of aquifer depletion over a 2-year period is substantial and likely related to increased groundwater pumping.”
In 2011, the total water stored in the aquifer was about 2.92 billion acre-feet, an overall decline of about 267 million acre-feet — or 8 percent — since predevelopment. Change in water stored from 2011 to 2013 was an overall decline of 36.0 million acre-feet. The overall average water-level decline in the aquifer was 15.4 feet from predevelopment to 2013, and 2.1 feet from 2011 to 2013.
The USGS study used water-level measurements from 3,349 wells for predevelopment to 2013 and 7,460 wells for the 2011 to 2013 study period.
The High Plains Aquifer, also known as the Ogallala Aquifer, underlies about 112 million acres (175,000 square miles) in parts of eight states, including: Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. In South Dakota, it underlies all of Bennett County, most of Todd County, part of Shannon, Mellette, Gregory and Tripp counties.

The USGS, at the request of the U.S. Congress, has published reports on water-level changes in the High Plains Aquifer since 1988. Congress requested these reports in response to substantial water-level declines in large areas of the aquifer.

Read more about water on the Black Hills Knowledge Network.

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South Dakota is the most entrepreneur friendly state in the nation, reports Northern Plains News.

This month, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council released its 19th annual "Small Business Policy Index 2014: Ranking the States on Policy Measures and Costs Impacting Small Business and Entrepreneurship." Find the full report online and attached to this post.
The Index ranks the 50 states according to 42 different policy measures, including a wide array of tax, regulatory and government spending measurements.
The most entrepreneur-friendly states under the "Small Business Policy Index 2014" are:
  1. South Dakota
  2. Nevada
  3. Texas
  4. Wyoming
  5. Florida
  6. Washington
  7. Alabama
  8. Indiana
  9. Colorado
  10. North Dakota
  11. Ohio
  12. Arizona
  13. Utah
  14. Michigan
  15. Virginia
"Top-tier policy states like Texas, Nevada, South Dakota, Florida and Wyoming continue to leverage their long-standing policy advantage and are doing things to get even better," said SBE council president and CEO Karen Kerrigan.

In contrast, according to the Index, the most negative policy environments for entrepreneurs are: 

40. Rhode Island

41. Connecticut

42. Maine

43. Iowa

44. Oregon

45. Vermont

46. Minnesota

47. Hawaii

48. New York

49. New Jersey

50. California


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South Dakota was the only state to report a decline in personal income in the third quarter of 2014, ranking at the bottom of a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Lower corn prices were a major factor in the 0.2 percent decline in total earnings—a $181 million decrease—and affected Nebraska and North Dakota as well, which finished 49th and 48th among the 50 states.

In South Dakota, seasonally adjusted Farm earnings fell by $413 million from the second quarter of 2014, a 1.04 percent drop. The strongest growth sectors on a percentage basis were Construction (up 0.9 percent) and Finance and Insurance (up 0.11 percent). These two sectors also had the largest gains in total earnings, up $34 million and $44 million respectively.

The drop comes on the heels of very strong growth in personal income in South Dakota in the second quarter of 2014—up 2.3 percent, the fifth fastest in the nation.

The recent personal income report is available from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The Wall Street Journal published an analysis and an interactive map of the data. 

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Thursday, 18 December 2014 17:00

Rural Job Gains Near Pace for Urban Growth

Job growth in rural America looks nearly as bright as does employment gains in metropolitan areas, reports The Daily Yonder

The numbers don't come close - about 428,000 rural jobs vs. 3.4 million urban jobs - but the pace is close. (Rural equates to any county not in a metropolitan statistcal area, as designated by the federal government.) Rural jobs grew by 2.1 percent between October 2013 and October 2014, while urban jobs grew by 2.7 percent.

The Daily Yonder:

"The pace of job creation is quickening. Rural counties in September had 208,000 more jobs than September a year ago. Rural counties added more than twice that number from October 2013 to October of this year. "

At the same time, the unemployment rate in rural America has dropped below that of urban America - 5.3 percent vs. 5.6 percent (on average). 

Across South Dakota, the unemployment rate is even lower - below 3 percent in most counties. The exceptions are some counties on American Indian reservations, where unemployment reaches into double digits in some instances. Click here for an interactive map that offers county-by-county data by clicking on a given county. 

Explore more statistics on rural jobs, proportion of adults working, and other economic factors in our South Dakota Dashboard Economy and Workforce information hubs.

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