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%:
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.
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%.