South Dakota Q2, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 34,098 employers, up 1.5% from 33,608
  • 433,352 employees, up 0.6% from 430,698
  • $838 average weekly wage, up 3.8% from $807
  • The average weekly wage is 23.5% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 0.2% below the national average

Employer & Employee Growth

In the last year, the number of employers in the state increased by 490, which is an increase of 1.5%. The number of employees in South Dakota increased by 2,655, an increase of 0.6%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $31, an increase of 3.8%.

The number of private employers increased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses increased by 487 or 1.6%. Growth in private businesses in South Dakota grew slower than the national average of 2.9%. The number of employees in these businesses increased since last years' Q1, increasing by 2,419 or 0.7%. The growth in employees of private businesses in South Dakota was slower than the national average of 1.4%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $33 or 4.1%. Growth in average weekly wage of employees of private businesses in South Dakota grew faster than the national average of 3.8%.


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 (11.0%), which decreased by 2.1% and Professional services (10.0%), which increased by 7.0%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Professional services2227.0%
Waste services784.4%
Information244.3%
Arts and entertainment284.2%
Real estate and rental343.1%
Healthcare502.0%
Educational services61.8%
Agriculture and forestry171.7%
Finance and insurance351.6%
Wholesale trade431.6%
Other services221.0%
Company management20.9%
Accommodation and food services140.6%
Construction180.5%
Utilities00.0%
Mining and oil extraction00.0%
Transport and warehousing-7-0.5%
Manufacturing-17-1.6%
Retail trade-82-2.1%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Healthcare with 14.9% of the employees in the state, had an increase in employees of 1.1% in the last year. Retail trade (11.9%), decreased by 1.7% and Manufacturing (10.4%), increased by 2.1%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Mining and oil extraction434.9%
Real estate and rental1574.0%
Professional services5393.8%
Waste services3072.3%
Arts and entertainment1472.2%
Company management1132.2%
Manufacturing9352.1%
Transport and warehousing1831.7%
Construction4011.7%
Wholesale trade3271.5%
Other services1301.2%
Healthcare7151.1%
Agriculture and forestry360.6%
Accommodation and food services-168-0.4%
Educational services-21-0.7%
Utilities-25-1.3%
Retail trade-868-1.7%
Information-99-1.8%
Finance and insurance-435-1.8%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Company management paying $1,727per week compared with the state average of $836. Weekly wages in this sector rose by $101 or 6.2%. Utilities ($1,649), rose by $69 or 4.4% and Finance and insurance ($1,193) increased by $61 or 5.4% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Company management$1016.2%
Healthcare$576.0%
Finance and insurance$615.4%
Waste services$314.9%
Real estate and rental$334.8%
Other services$284.6%
Utilities$694.4%
Information$364.0%
Construction$333.7%
Professional services$413.6%
Retail trade$183.4%
Accommodation and food services$103.2%
Agriculture and forestry$182.5%
Manufacturing$222.4%
Transport and warehousing$172.1%
Wholesale trade$211.9%
Mining and oil extraction$-12-1.0%
Arts and entertainment$-4-1.2%
Educational services$-17-3.0%


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 1,428 employing 26,906 workers). The Restaurants and other eating places industry had 18 more businesses, an increase of 1.3% in the last year. Residential building construction (2.7% of businesses) added 15 businesses, an increase of 1.6% and Insurance agencies and brokerages (2.4% of businesses) added 18 businesses, an increase of 2.3% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Trusts estates and agency accounts9128.6%
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing2100.0%
Dairy product merchant wholesalers266.7%
Advertising material distribution services266.7%
Facilities support services763.6%
Musical groups and artists250.0%
Charter bus industry250.0%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Management consulting services8516.1%
Computer systems design and related services6911.2%
Temporary help services4014.1%
Commercial banking276.5%
Commercial machinery repair and maintenance209.4%
Other technical consulting services1912.8%
Engineering services197.2%


Employees by Industry

Residential building construction (2.7% of employees) added 15 employees, an increase of 1.6% and Insurance agencies and brokerages (2.4% ofemployees) added 18 employees, an increase of 2.3% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Dairy product merchant wholesalers16313.3%
Computer and software merchant wholesalers18084.2%
Rooming and boarding houses878.8%
Other farm product raw material merch. whls.1973.1%
All other personal services1871.6%
Other building exterior contractors6267.7%
Convention and trade show organizers266.7%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing35916.6%
Commercial banking3405.0%
Management consulting services19119.1%
Computer systems design and related services1847.0%
Computer and software merchant wholesalers18084.2%
All other ambulatory health care services17045.9%
Animal slaughtering and processing1532.3%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is Investment banking and securities dealing, paying $3,282 compared with the state average of $836. Employees in the Investment banking and securities dealing industry were paid $488 more per week, an increase of 17.5% in the last year. Business to business electronic markets ($2,984) and Securities brokerage ($2,488) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Business to business electronic markets ($2,984 per week) were paid $263 less per week, a decline of 8.1% and Securities brokerage ($2,488 per week) were paid $205 less per week, a decline of 7.6% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Art dealers$17382.8%
Toy and hobby goods merchant wholesalers$24460.8%
Clothing accessories stores$13040.6%
Landscape architectural services$26333.0%
Other travel arrangement services$26532.7%
Coin-operated laundries and drycleaners$7631.7%
Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers$41729.7%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Investment banking and securities dealing$48817.5%
Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers$41729.7%
Data processing hosting and related services$32725.6%
Photographic equip. merchant wholesalers$32624.1%
Other travel arrangement services$26532.7%
Medical equipment merchant wholesalers$26314.6%
Landscape architectural services$26333.0%


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 92.4%. (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%.

Top Industries for Business and Employment

The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of businesses:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Businesses
Industry# Businesses% Change
Restaurants and other eating places1,4281.3%
Residential building construction9301.6%
Insurance agencies and brokerages8132.3%
Computer systems design and related services68611.2%
Management consulting services61416.1%
Gasoline stations with convenience stores522-2.1%
Commercial banking4416.5%
Accounting and bookkeeping services4232.4%
Plumbing and hvac contractors420-1.9%
Hotels and motels except casino hotels411-1.4%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of employees:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Employees
Industry# Employees% Change
Restaurants and other eating places26,906-0.2%
General medical and surgical hospitals24,2050.2%
Supermarkets and other grocery stores7,939-1.0%
Offices of physicians7,693-0.2%
Nursing care facilities skilled nursing7,1730.6%
Commercial banking7,1645.0%
Hotels and motels except casino hotels6,949-0.5%
Animal slaughtering and processing6,7192.3%
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters6,099-1.7%
Gasoline stations with convenience stores6,012-0.8%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by highest wages:

Table: Top 10 Industries by Weekly Wage
IndustryWkly Wages% Change
Investment banking and securities dealing$3,28217.5%
Business to business electronic markets$2,984-8.1%
Securities brokerage$2,488-7.6%
Investment advice$2,386-12.3%
Offices of physicians$2,3169.3%
Ophthalmic goods merchant wholesalers$2,22111.6%
Appliance and electronics merchant whls.$2,068-4.5%
Medical equipment merchant wholesalers$2,06414.6%
Pipeline transportation of natural gas$2,0215.4%
Druggists' goods merchant wholesalers$1,975-2.8%




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.