South Dakota Employment Statistics

  • 33,716 employers
  • 426,968 employees
  • $840 average weekly wage
  • The average weekly wage is 23.7% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 1.5% below the national average

Types of Employers (Private Sector vs Government Agency)

As an employer in South Dakota, you are most likely to be running a private company rather than a government agency. 92.8% of employers run private companies in the state, 4.2% less than the national average of 97.0. The remaining 7.2% of employers are government agencies: 2.1% work in a federal agency, 2.6% work for the state and 2.5% work for local government. The chart below illustrates the breakout of employers by type.
82.7% of employees work for a private company. This is 2.5% below the national average of 85.2%. Local government agencies employ 11.2% of the workers in the state, state government agencies employ 3.5% of the workers and the federal government employs 2.6%. The percentage of employees working for a government agency (17.3%) is 2.5% higher than the national average. The chart below illustrates the breakout of employees by type of employer.
The average weekly wage in South Dakota is $840 per week, which is 23.7% greater than the national average of $1,101 per week. South Dakota workers that are employed by private businesses earn $840 per week, 23.6% lower than the national average for private company employees. Employees of federal government agencies in South Dakota earn $1,284 per week, a premium of 52.9% compared to what employees of private companies earn. The chart below illustrates the average weekly by type of employer.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Construction with 11.5% of the businesses in the state. Retail trade (11.4%) and Professional services (9.5%) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Sectors by # of Businesses
Sector# Businesses% of Bus.
Construction3,88211.5%
Retail trade3,83611.4%
Professional services3,2189.5%
Wholesale trade2,6767.9%
Healthcare2,5007.4%
Accommodation and food services2,4747.3%
Other services2,2016.5%
Finance and insurance2,1626.4%
Waste services1,7745.3%
Transport and warehousing1,3784.1%
Real estate and rental1,0963.3%
Manufacturing1,0843.2%
Agriculture and forestry9812.9%
Arts and entertainment6742.0%
Information5621.7%
Educational services3391.0%
Company management2120.6%
Utilities1700.5%
Mining and oil extraction660.2%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Healthcare with 15.0% of the employees in the state. Retail trade (12.2%) and Manufacturing (10.4%) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Sectors by # of Employees
Sector# Employees% of Emp'
Healthcare64,16415.0%
Retail trade52,26412.2%
Manufacturing44,44210.4%
Accommodation and food services40,4839.5%
Finance and insurance24,8525.8%
Construction22,9725.4%
Wholesale trade20,8584.9%
Professional services14,0543.3%
Waste services13,0883.1%
Other services11,1482.6%
Transport and warehousing10,6342.5%
Arts and entertainment6,8331.6%
Agriculture and forestry5,9491.4%
Information5,5891.3%
Company management5,2651.2%
Real estate and rental3,8790.9%
Educational services3,7040.9%
Utilities1,9780.5%
Mining and oil extraction8820.2%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Company management paying $1,917per week compared with the state average of $840. Utilities ($1,624) and Finance and insurance ($1,228) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Wages by Sector
SectorWkly Wagevs St Avg.
Company management$1,917228.2%
Utilities$1,624193.3%
Finance and insurance$1,228146.2%
Mining and oil extraction$1,221145.4%
Professional services$1,174139.8%
Wholesale trade$1,169139.2%
Healthcare$992118.1%
Information$949113.0%
Manufacturing$948112.9%
Construction$942112.1%
Transport and warehousing$850101.2%
Agriculture and forestry$76691.2%
Real estate and rental$70583.9%
Waste services$65177.5%
Other services$63275.2%
Educational services$57468.3%
Retail trade$55065.5%
Arts and entertainment$35041.7%
Accommodation and food services$32238.3%


Leading Industries

Businesses by Industry

Each broad sector is made up of specific industries. In South Dakota. the industry with the most businesses is Restaurants and other eating places with 4.2% of the businesses in the state (with 1,403 employing 26,532 workers). Residential building construction (2.7%) and Insurance agencies and brokerages (2.4%) round out the top 3 industries. The Top 10 Industries in the state are:
Industry# BusinessesEmp/Biz
Restaurants and other eating places1,40318.9
Residential building construction9182.9
Insurance agencies and brokerages7994.6
Computer systems design and related services6274.2
Management consulting services5401.9
Gasoline stations with convenience stores53211.4
Plumbing and hvac contractors4298.3
Commercial banking42016.3
Accounting and bookkeeping services4154.5
Hotels and motels except casino hotels41316.2


Employees by Industry

The industry with the greatest number of employees in the state is Restaurants and other eating places with 6.2% of the businesses in the state. The industry employs 26,532 in 1,403 businesses, there are 18.9 employees on average in each of these businesses. General medical and surgical hospitals (5.7%) and Supermarkets and other grocery stores (1.9%) round out the top 3 industries.
Table: Industries by # of Employees
Industry# EmpEmp/Biz
Restaurants and other eating places26,53218.9
General medical and surgical hospitals24,164431.5
Supermarkets and other grocery stores8,04545.5
Offices of physicians7,75224.5
Nursing care facilities skilled nursing7,14668.7
Commercial banking6,83416.3
Hotels and motels except casino hotels6,70516.2
Animal slaughtering and processing6,634154.3
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters6,16542.8
Gasoline stations with convenience stores6,05211.4


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is Business to business electronic markets, paying $4,037 compared with the state average of $840. Investment banking and securities dealing ($3,179) and Printing and writing paper merch. whls. ($2,760) round out the top 3 industries.
Table: Wages by Industry
IndustryWkly Wage% of Avg
Business to business electronic markets$4,037480.6
Investment banking and securities dealing$3,179378.5
Printing and writing paper merch. whls.$2,760328.6
Meat and meat product merchant wholesalers$2,675318.5
Securities brokerage$2,667317.5
Investment advice$2,309274.9
Offices of physicians$2,200261.9
All other financial investment activities$2,143255.1
Druggists' goods merchant wholesalers$2,129253.5
Appliance and electronics merchant whls.$2,093249.2


Company Size

South Dakota Businesses by Size

The solopreneur company, has the most businesses in South Dakota by far. 59.9% of all businesses in the state have fewer than 5 employees. The 29,945 small businesses in the state represent 96.5% of all private businesses. The national average is 92.6%. (Small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, Solopreneurs employ fewer than 5.) The pie chart below illustrates the ratio of business sizes.

South Dakota Employees by Business Size

The largest companies in the state represent 72.4% of all employees, which is 66.0% lower than the national average of 138.4%. Interestingly, the smallest companies in the state employ a higher percentage than the largest companies, this is not typical. The solopreneur (those that employ fewer than 5) companies employ 95.3% of all workers, which is 3.8% higher than the national average of 91.5%. All small companies, those employing fewer than 50 people, represent 588.0% of the labor force in the state, 38.0% more than the national average of 550.0%.

South Dakota Avg Weekly Wages by Business Size

South Dakota workers in every size business are paid less than the national average. The smallest companies in South Dakota (those with fewer than 5 employees) pay workers 9.7% less than the national average ($889 per week as compared to the national average of $975 per week). The largest companies in South Dakota (those with more than 1,000 employees) pay 71.7% workers below the national average ($1,096 per week as compared to the national average of $1,882 per week).



Data Sources




About the Writer

This page was created and is maintained by Kurt Tietjen, Founder of Stavera, High Peak Media & HomeGearWorks.com. Kurt is an executive, data scientist and software engineer who holds an MBA in Management Information Systems. In 2010, he partnered with scientists at Northwestern University to launch The Street Wire. This was one of the first mainstream uses of what would become “Narrative Science”, an artificial intelligence platform specializing in natural language generation. You can contact Kurt on LinkedIn here.