South Dakota Q1, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 33,984 employers, up 1.5% from 33,467
  • 418,037 employees, up 0.7% from 415,277
  • $865 average weekly wage, up 2.7% from $842
  • The average weekly wage is 26.9% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 1.5% below the national average

Employer & Employee Growth

In the last year, the number of employers in the state increased by 517, which is an increase of 1.5%. The number of employees in South Dakota increased by 2,760, an increase of 0.7%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $23, an increase of 2.7%.

The number of private employers increased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses increased by 516 or 1.7%. Growth in private businesses in South Dakota grew slower than the national average of 3.0%. The number of employees in these businesses increased since last years' Q1, increasing by 2,458 or 0.7%. The growth in employees of private businesses in South Dakota was slower than the national average of 1.7%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $26 or 3.1%. Growth in average weekly wage of employees of private businesses in South Dakota grew faster than the national average of 3.0%.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Construction with 11.4% of the businesses in the state. The number of businesses in this sector increased by 0.5%. Retail trade (11.2%), which decreased by 1.2% and Professional services (9.8%), which increased by 6.0%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Professional services1896.0%
Waste services834.8%
Real estate and rental484.5%
Information254.5%
Arts and entertainment294.4%
Healthcare873.5%
Company management52.4%
Wholesale trade421.6%
Finance and insurance241.1%
Other services221.0%
Educational services30.9%
Agriculture and forestry90.9%
Construction200.5%
Transport and warehousing10.1%
Utilities00.0%
Accommodation and food services-11-0.4%
Manufacturing-11-1.0%
Retail trade-47-1.2%
Mining and oil extraction-2-3.0%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Healthcare with 15.5% of the employees in the state, had an increase in employees of 1.7% in the last year. Retail trade (12.1%), decreased by 2.1% and Manufacturing (10.7%), increased by 2.7%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Real estate and rental1804.9%
Professional services5053.7%
Manufacturing1,1882.7%
Company management1312.5%
Agriculture and forestry1302.3%
Transport and warehousing2282.2%
Construction3701.8%
Wholesale trade3701.8%
Healthcare1,0811.7%
Arts and entertainment871.5%
Other services1461.3%
Waste services00.0%
Accommodation and food services-145-0.4%
Utilities-21-1.1%
Finance and insurance-434-1.8%
Retail trade-1,089-2.1%
Mining and oil extraction-16-2.1%
Educational services-92-2.4%
Information-161-2.9%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Company management paying $2,317per week compared with the state average of $872. Weekly wages in this sector rose by $172 or 8.0%. Utilities ($1,661), rose by $9 or 0.5% and Finance and insurance ($1,423) increased by $90 or 6.8% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Company management$1728.0%
Finance and insurance$906.8%
Real estate and rental$314.4%
Waste services$223.4%
Information$343.4%
Wholesale trade$373.2%
Healthcare$252.6%
Retail trade$142.6%
Arts and entertainment$82.3%
Accommodation and food services$72.3%
Construction$182.0%
Other services$121.9%
Professional services$151.3%
Mining and oil extraction$151.1%
Manufacturing$50.5%
Utilities$90.5%
Transport and warehousing$-3-0.4%
Agriculture and forestry$-6-0.8%
Educational services$-9-1.6%


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 4.1% of the businesses in the state (with 1,396 employing 25,101 workers). The Restaurants and other eating places industry had 3 more businesses, an increase of 0.2% in the last year. Residential building construction (2.7% of businesses) added 21 businesses, an increase of 2.3% and Insurance agencies and brokerages (2.4% of businesses) added 12 businesses, an increase of 1.5% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Facilities support services880.0%
Business to business electronic markets360.0%
Waste treatment and disposal250.0%
Turned product and screw nut and bolt mfg.150.0%
Satellite telecommunications150.0%
Lessors of nonfinancial intangible assets250.0%
All other personal services646.2%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Management consulting services8316.0%
Computer systems design and related services6611.0%
Temporary help services4717.2%
Offices of specialty therapists3325.6%
Commercial banking245.7%
Other technical consulting services2215.4%
Office administrative services2111.9%


Employees by Industry

Residential building construction (2.7% of employees) added 21 employees, an increase of 2.3% and Insurance agencies and brokerages (2.4% ofemployees) added 12 employees, an increase of 1.5% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
All other personal services21105.6%
Other farm product raw material merch. whls.1999.1%
Other building exterior contractors8290.7%
Computer and software merchant wholesalers18189.8%
Refrigerated warehousing and storage10183.2%
Other credit intermediation activities876.7%
Offices of all other health practitioners5457.6%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing42720.4%
Commercial banking3975.8%
General medical and surgical hospitals2631.1%
Management consulting services22023.1%
Computer and software merchant wholesalers18189.8%
All other ambulatory health care services17749.7%
Nursing care facilities skilled nursing1762.5%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

Residential building construction ($3) and Insurance agencies and brokerages ($2) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Residential building construction ($3 per week) were paid $21 more per week, an increase of 2.3% and Insurance agencies and brokerages ($2 per week) were paid $12 more per week, an increase of 1.5% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Reupholstery and furniture repair$20051.3%
Coin-operated laundries and drycleaners$10644.9%
Investment banking and securities dealing$1,81042.0%
Other similar organizations$25240.9%
Art dealers$7238.7%
Meat and meat product merchant wholesalers$1,12535.2%
Translation and interpretation services$13729.3%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Investment banking and securities dealing$1,81042.0%
Meat and meat product merchant wholesalers$1,12535.2%
Ophthalmic goods merchant wholesalers$44524.5%
Medical equipment merchant wholesalers$37720.6%
Other similar organizations$25240.9%
Security systems services$24827.4%
Other activities related to real estate$21528.5%


Company Size

South Dakota Businesses by Size

The solopreneur company, has the most businesses in South Dakota by far. 60.7% of all businesses in the state have fewer than 5 employees. The 30,499 small businesses in the state represent 96.7% of all private businesses. The national average is 92.9%. (Small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, Solopreneurs employ fewer than 5.) South Dakota added 516 businesses in the last year, an increase of 1.7% as compared to the national average of 3.0%.

Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 542 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 1.8% as compared to the national average of 3.1%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. These mid-sized businesses declined 26 businesses in the last year, which is a decrease of 2.5% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. These large businesses added 0 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 0.0% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.



South Dakota Employees by Business Size

South Dakota added 7,374 employees in the last year, an increase of 2.2% as compared to the national average of 5.2%. Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 8,415 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 38.1% as compared to the national average of 4.2%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. Mid-sized businesses lost 2,066 employees in the last year, which is a decrease of 1.7% as compared to the national average of 4.7%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. Large businesses added 1,025 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 2.6% as compared to the national average of 9.2%.

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 10.4% less than the national average ($910 per week as compared to the national average of $1,005 per week). The largest companies in South Dakota (those with more than 1,000 employees) pay 64.9% workers below the national average ($1,160 per week as compared to the national average of $1,913 per week).

Average weekly wages in small businesses added $74 per week in the last year, which is an increase of 2.4% as compared to the national average of 3.1%. Employees of mid-sized businesses added $78 in wages per week in the last year, which is an increase of 3.0% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Employees of large businesses added $114 of weekly wages in the last year, which is an increase of 4.6% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.



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.