Oct 18, 2015

Most South Dakotans Working in Recent History

More South Dakotans were working in 2014 than in any year since at least 2000, according to recently updated federal data. That holds true whether the state's workforce is measured by the number of individuals or by the percentage of the total population. 

In 2014, 77.6 percent of South Dakota adults held jobs, up from a recent low of 75.1 percent in 2011. That workforce was made up of 413,853 people, up from 355,562 in 2000. 

That placed the Rushmore State at No. 2 for the most adults working behind No. 1 Nebraska at 77.8 percent. West Virginia ranked last at 59.7 percent. Nationally, the rate was 68 percent, down from a recent high of 70.7 percent in 2008. 

Both teens and those 65 and older worked at higher rates than they did before the Great Recession struck in late 2008. Nearly half (49.6 percent) of South Dakotans ages 16-19 worked in 2014, a high since 2000 when the rate was 50.9 percent. Those rates compare to a recent low of 41.1 percent in 2010.

More than a third (34 percent) of South Dakota's senior citizens worked in 2014, compared to 28.1 percent in 2000. That age group's rate had hovered at just below 30 percent until it increased to more than 33 percent in 2011. It has stayed near that level since.

The Sioux Falls metro area (Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha, and Turner counties) continued its trend of exceeding the statewide figure, with 82.6 percent of adults working. That's a high since 2008, when 83.4 percent of adults were working in the metro area. In the Rapid City metro area (Pennington, Meade and Custer counties), the trend remains at slightly below the statewide average. In 2014, 77.2 percent of adults were working, also a high since 2008 when the rate was 77.9 percent. 

South Dakota males continued the trend of working at higher rates than females, logging the widest gender gap in recent history in 2014. Males ages 16-64 worked at a rate of 80.2 percent, compared to 74.9 percent for females of the same ages. Females logged a recent high rate of 76.9 percent in 2008 when males worked at a rate of 80.6 percent -- the only rate higher than 2014 in recent history.


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