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South Dakota's Economy

February 7, 2010, 6:10 PM by Cherlene Richards

South Dakota's Economy
The unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since August.  It's dropped from 10% to 9.7%.  Also in January National retail sales jumped more than 3% from January 2009.  Local economists say the latest numbers show positive growth in the nation. But, how is South Dakota faring?

We take a closer look at the numbers.

In 2009, some people cashed in on recession deals at retailers.  But, they didn't spend as much the year before - at least, not in Sioux Falls. But, local economists say that's expected, and it'll take more than a few months to see an increase in spending.

“Consumption is 70% of this country’s gross domestic product, and with workers feeling insecure, it's hard to imagine them going out and spending a whole bunch of money, when they lack confidence in the overall economy,” Reynold Nesiba said.

Sales Tax receipts decreased nearly 6% from 2008 to 2009. Augustana Economics Professor Reynold Nesiba says South Dakota usually follows the national trend. That means as national numbers are going up, our retail numbers may rise too.

"The South Dakota economy has been growing more slowly, but it's also been far less volatile than the economy as a whole,” Nesiba said.

For example- South Dakota has a jobless rate of 4.7%.  Nesiba expects that number to stick around.  But, he foresees national unemployment to be at 9% or above.

Overall, Nesiba says South Dakota's economy is much stronger than other parts of the nation.

"South Dakota's better off, than the country as a whole for a couple of different reasons, one we have this lower level of unemployment, second thing is we haven't had the housing problems that the rest of the country's had,” Nesiba said.

And Nesiba says, time will tell if the country truly begins to turn around.

Nationally, the rate of those who are under-employed, meaning they've quit looking for a job or are overqualified for the one they have is 16.5%.

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