SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — She has said it as governor of South Dakota and as a candidate for re-election. A campaign spokesman for Governor Kristi Noem said it on July 18. South Dakota has “the strongest economy in America.”
But does it?
It depends on what data is used to back the claim but based on a host of data, it doesn’t appear that South Dakota has the strongest economy in the nation.
The Federal Reserve of the 9th District in Minneapolis said in October 2021 that South Dakota’s economy was recovering quicker from the pandemic than other states in the district.
Employment and increases in the Gross Domestic Product helped in the recovery.
A state’s Gross Domestic Product or GDP is a factor used to measure the economic health of a state. GDP measures the value of goods and services produced in a state.
While the South Dakota economy was out-pacing other states in 2021, there’s been a shift.
The GDP for many states decreased for the first quarter of 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. (BEA) The decrease in South Dakota was larger than in many states. The GDP declined by 3.5%.
Only eight other states had higher percentage decreases than South Dakota. Those states included North Dakota with a 6.3% decrease. West Virginia, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisana all had higher decreases in their GDPs.
Neighboring states such as Minnesota (2%) and Iowa (1.3%) had lower decreases.
GoBankingrates listed South Dakota’s economy as not thriving on July 17 and based it on changes in fiscal GDP quarterly report.
The GDP growth was only 0.3% from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2021. The GDP per capita was $70,148. GoBankingrates even listed that average weekly wages increased by 5.1% from September 2020 to September of 2021 but the state was still not thriving.
In June, Wallethub ranked South Dakota’s economy as 37th of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Although the state was fourth in economic health, it was 47th in innovation potential and 42nd in economic activity.
Personal income did increase in the state during the first quarter of 2022 from the fourth quarter of 2021, according to the BEA. The 8.5% increase was driven in large part by an increase in farm income, according to the BEA.
Analysis by Forbes in May showed that South Dakota ranked 12th in economic growth from the final quarter of 2019 to the final quarter of 2021. The GDP grew by 4.6%.
The year-end of 2020 to the final quarter of 2021 was rougher on the state. The state fell to 47th in growth from the final quarter of 2020 to the final quarter of 2021 with 1.8% growth, according to Forbes.
South Dakota does have a very low unemployment rate of 2.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The percentage is as of June 22. Nebraska has the lowest rate at 1.9% and several states have 2%, 2.1% and 2.2%.