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South Dakota Posts Second-Worst State GDP in 2017 Q1

The U.S. economy grew 1.4% in the first quarter of this year. New Bureau of Economic Analysis data show that 43 states and the District of Columbia contributed to that growth while seven states saw their GDP shrink. The second-worst sandbagger was South Dakota, whose economy this winter shrank 3.8%:

US GDP by state, 2017 Q1
[click to embiggen!]
The explanation is obvious: the bad farm economy is dragging South Dakota and our neighbors down, and the drought won’t help. But low crop prices be jiggered, South Dakota still managed positive GDP growth during our two harvest quarters in 2016. Other sectors besides ag dragged in Q1 as well: out of 21 industry sectors, eight—construction, durable goods manufacturing, non-durable goods manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, real estate/rental/leasing, and government—managed to grow in South Dakota and beat the national sector average in Q1 2017.

Taxable sales declined in our first quarter, but not as badly as GDP. According to the South Dakota Department of Revenue’s January, February, and March reports, taxable sales statewide dropped 2.19% from Q1 of 2016.

period 2016 2017 %chg
January $1,975,806,906 $1,936,892,855 -1.97%
February $1,543,942,759 $1,499,422,879 -2.88%
March $1,480,840,934 $1,454,756,893 -1.76%
Total Q1 $5,000,590,599 $4,891,072,627 -2.19%

The total amount bet on South Dakota’s slot machines and gaming tables in the first three months of this year was down 7.19% from Q1 2016 (we’ve recovered a bit: total gaming “handle” was down only 4.24% as of the end of June). I don’t have quarterly figures for the state lottery, but for the full fiscal year, July 2016 through June 2017, our spending on the tax on bad math skills increased 1.61%.


  1. jerry 2017-07-28

    Tidemann, the cleanup laundry dude for the cult republicans, says that all is well with all of these numbers and not to worry. The most important thing we all can do is clap louder. Cult republicans are a funny bunch. Have you heard Troy and the cult say a peep about the profanity verbiage that is coming out da mouth of the Mooch? Nope, these pious crooks and liars are quiet as..dare I say it?? A church mouse. Meanwhile, all the Evangelical fakes giggle with much titillation among themselves as to how Bannon could contort himself for the act Mooch describes publicly.

  2. Porter Lansing 2017-07-28

    Off topic and I apologize BUT The Mooch is bound to be the new star of Saturday Night Live. Probably not Melissa McCarthy but possibly Cecily Strong. :0)

  3. buckobear 2017-07-28

    Obviously, what we need here in SD are personal and corporate income tax cuts !!
    Oops …….

  4. Robert 2017-07-28

    We’re not quite last! We’re not quite last! 🎉

  5. Curt 2017-07-28

    Did they drain the swamp and find ‘the Mooch’?

  6. jerry 2017-07-28

    Even in a terrible drought, cult republicans still abound in our swamp. They gather in Pierre and then complain about the presents lavished upon them by the lobbyists as being not enough for the nothing they do. I tell you man, this legislature stuff is the biggest scam around. All ya gotta do is mention Hillary, Indians, guns being taken away and them bathroom dealies and you are in. Then say that at least we are second and not first, how convincing.

  7. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2017-07-28

    An unpopular president, a drought, threatening cuts in federal farm aid, a weakening economy, and an open US House seat, these are the kind of ingredients that once made McGovern or Johnson our freshman congressman……. Bjorkman in 2018!

  8. Loren 2017-07-29

    We’re still better than MARS!!!!

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-07-29

    JKC—right on! If that economic distress continues in rural America, there will be another wave of grouchy change voters who don’t give a good gosh darn about R and D but just want to crack some skulls… and this time, R skulls will be in line for cracking.

  10. o 2017-07-30

    Cory, I agree that there will be a wave of grouchy, change voters; I disagree that they will not give a “good gosh darn about R and D. Although they may well vote out the current R’s, they could well do so with a wave of new, even-righter R’s. The Make-‘Merica-Miserable again bench is deep, and forgetting that showing current R’s the door is akin to grabbing a poisonous snake by the tail only to have the more deadly threat come back around at you.

    Let the focus always be on what we do to move forward, what values and issues we advocate FOR, and the candidates to do that.

  11. Mark Winegar 2017-07-31

    It is clear we need to strengthen our economy by diversifying it. I suggest developing a strong clean energy industry and exporting power to other states.

  12. Robert McTaggart 2017-07-31

    Yes…all kinds of clean energy. But that doesn’t have to be just power…we also need to facilitate more of the manufacturing, engineering, and safety necessary for a clean energy economy here.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-08-01

    That’s a fair point from O—a bunch of Trump primaryists in South Dakota and other strong red districts could have a leg up against feckless ‘Pubs who haven’t worked harder to implement the yee-haw rip-it-up reality TV agenda of their Archie Bunker in the White House.

    Our problem is that what we are for is really pretty boring: competent government, practical policy, and reasonable, feasible economic growth.

  14. Clyde 2017-08-01

    Mark, [sigh..] we are in a state whose PUC think’s that any little guy that thinks he should make some clean power and feed it back into the line should be penalized by being charged for the line use.

    Alternate energy is only for the big investors to be involved in…..Like Warren Buffet.

    There are lots of things that could be done but won’t be done because clean energy is in the domain where only a strong hand from Washington could allow it.

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