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Noem Expands Lies About Coronavirus Job Recovery, Says Government Jobs Don’t Matter to South Dakota Economy

Last week Bob Mercer had the guts to point out Governor Kristi Noem’s bald-faced lie about South Dakota’s job recovery during the coronavirus pandemic. In an August 14 press release, Governor Noem claimed, “South Dakota’s economy, having never been shut down, has recovered nearly 80% of our job losses.” Mercer pointed to public data summarized for and presented to the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors on August 18 showing that the job rebound since the onset of the pandemic is more like 48%, which by no mathematical or logical method may be characterized as “nearly 80%.”

In other words, Governor Noem lied.

Now Seth Tupper points to additional data indicting Noem’s economic exaggeration from Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation analyst Richard Cofer, who told the South Dakota Banking Commission Thursday that by his count our coronavirus-recession job recovery stands at 43.5%:

“South Dakota lost almost 42,000 jobs between February and April and has regained about 18,000,” Cofer said, “so it still hasn’t recovered half of those jobs yet.”

Cofer’s analysis included private-sector and government employees [Seth Tupper, “Noem Says 80 Percent of Jobs Recovered, But Analyst Says 40 Percent,” SDPB, 2020.08.27].

Richard Cofer, Jr., Regional Manager, FDIC Division of Insurance & Research, presentation to South Dakota Banking Commission, 2020.08.27, slide 14.
Richard Cofer, Jr., Regional Manager, FDIC Division of Insurance & Research, presentation to South Dakota Banking Commission, 2020.08.27, slide 14.

If we go to the three significant digits in the heading of Cofer’s slide #14, we get 43.5% job recovery since we fell off the coronavirus cliff, with more jobs left to recover (23,600) than have already been recouped (18,200).

If Noem has learned anything from Donald Trump, it’s that when caught in a lie, lie harder:

Ian Fury is a spokesman for Gov. Noem. Fury said Noem’s numbers were calculated differently. Instead of using February as a starting point, he said the governor’s office used an annualized number from 2019 [Tupper, 2020.08.27].

That’s just bad math. You don’t use an annualized figure from last year to calculate how much less bad an economic calamity has become from February to August of this year. Plus Noem’s spokesboy don’t tell su which annualized figure Noem is looking at, so we can’t check the calculation ourselves.

And then comes the big lie:

And Fury said the governor’s office removed government workers from the equation.

“Historically, government jobs don’t tie to recessionary activity,” Fury said. “So when you’re talking about how are you coming back from a recession, government jobs are sort of an irrelevant data point” [Tupper, 2020.08.27].

Government jobs are irrelevant to economic calculations, says the Texas boy who left the Beltway to live in Pierre and spout Noem’s nonsense for $112,200 a year.

Fury’s claim that “Historically, government jobs don’t tie to recessionary activity” is horsehockey in top hat and spats. Government provides the largest percentage of jobs in South Dakota—18.1% statewide, according to another of Cofer’s slides, and 25% in non-metro South Dakota. That’s significantly more dependence on socialist employment that the nationwide 15.0% rate of government employment.*

Cofer, 2020.08.27, Slide 15.
Cofer, 2020.08.27, Slide 15.
Cofer, 2020.08.27, Slide 16.
Cofer, 2020.08.27, Slide 16.

You can’t discount the recessionary impact of job losses in South Dakota’s biggest employment sector just to make the boss look good. Those six-figure checks aren’t irrelevant to Ian and Kristi and their Pierre neighbors. They sure aren’t irrelevant to Lynn’s Dakotamart, Runnings, Red Rossa, and the Cattleman’s Club.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 4,400 fewer people working for government in South Dakota in July 2o20 than there were in July 2019. That’s a lot of South Dakotans in a lot of towns who had good, reliable paychecks and benefits last year who don’t right now. That means a lot of local businesses are seeing less economic activity than they would if those 4,400 public servants were still serving the public.

To review the main points Governor Noem gets risibly wrong:

  1. South Dakota has not recovered 80% or even 50% of the jobs lost since the onset of the coronavirus recession.
  2. Government jobs matter to during a recession.
  3. Government jobs matter even more in South Dakota, where a larger percentage of people, like Ian Fury, depend on government for their paychecks than in the rest of the country.

Especially in this time of crisis, South Dakotans really need a Governor who doesn’t lie to them. But the more time Kristi spends with Donald, the more she brings back to sneeze on us the real Trump virus of shameless, self-serving falsehood.

* I’m guessing that Mr. Cofer pulled his government-employment data from the June 2019 column of the BLS data, which shows government jobs making up 17.96% of South Dakota’s total nonfarm employment. In the People’s Republic of Minnesota, government provided only 14.36% of jobs in June 2019. In New York, 15.22%, In Communist California, 15.15%. In Massachusetts, 12.32%.


  1. grudznick 2020-08-30 08:23

    When you do things like that, mixing your fruits and guessing at the source of data, people call it French Math. When Ms. Noem does it, perhaps we should call it Castlewood Math.

  2. Chris S. 2020-08-30 10:18

    Everybody knows government jobs aren’t real jobs. Real jobs are CEOs taking four-hour lunches and checking their e-mail a couple times. If you work for the Post Office, County Auditor, or Department of Game, Fish, and Parks, you’re not really doing work and getting paid for it.

    Just like if you’re the Governor of South Dakota, you’re not really working . . . okay, bad example.

  3. Loren 2020-08-30 10:30

    Pulling a perfect “Kellyanne,” eh, Kristi? If you don’t like the facts, you can turn to (clear throat) “alternative facts.” We didn’t use “alternative facts” in SD when I was growing up. That was called LYING and my dad’s belt was used to discourage that sort of behavior. Anyone in Pierre have a belt??? ;-)

  4. jerry 2020-08-30 17:23

    Storm Lake Iowa’s Art Cullen, has a very good piece up in the Guardian. Of course The Guardian, America’s papers are just to skittish to publish the truth anymore. Anyway, check it out.

    Can you imagine the Sioux Falls paper with a story like this? Of course not…Storm Lake Iowa is just so radical, damn hippies. But just maybe the chickens have come home to roost and the corrupted trump party of South Dakota, might get an awakening of sorts.

  5. Eve Fisher 2020-08-30 17:49

    Of course she lied. She’s still using medical articles from March, 2020 to explain why everything’s going exactly as planned (1,897 new cases in one week!) and we don’t need no stinkin’ masks, even though science has learned a lot in the last 5 months. Why would she treat the economy any differently?

  6. o 2020-08-30 18:39

    I suppose that is logically consistent: if they were real jobs they should draw real salaries and get real raises. Ergo, those jobs must not be “real.”

  7. Jake 2020-08-30 20:00

    I wish she would remember her hero’s words “Figures don’t lie -but liars figure”, Reagan (I think.)
    But she somehow, like so many others, that “truth” is no longer relevant in today’s hi-tech world. She’d rather focus on fear!

  8. grudznick 2020-08-30 20:02

    Does anybody know if this Mr Roberts fellow is sort of a fat cat, gravy train fellow? Is he fat?

  9. mike from iowa 2020-08-30 20:33

    Good read, Jerry. Thanks for the lin k. Storm Lake is only around 35 miles from me.

  10. Francis Schaffer 2020-08-30 20:52

    If they aren’t real jobs, I shouldn’t have to use real money to pay my taxes.

  11. Debbo 2020-08-30 21:02

    They used trump Cult facts.

  12. jerry 2020-08-31 17:14

    uh, the military is a government job. Does anyone wonder how the troops feel about trump? Could this be why trump doesn’t want them to vote by mail? I think it may be so.

    “The latest Military Times poll shows a continued decline in active-duty service members’ views of President Donald Trump and a slight but significant preference for former Vice President Joe Biden in the upcoming November election among troops surveyed.”

    Troops know what a leader is and they know that their commander in chief is a lying sack of do do with a coward cherry on top. Good call

  13. jerry 2020-08-31 17:20

    The folks at Ellsworth, just gave a big wtf to her statement. Tinker Belle GNOem is so far up her own backside that she’s a pretzel. She was a do nothing House member and she is a do nothing governor. The only thing so far Tinker Belle GNOem has accomplished is disappointment and failure, what a dud.

  14. Moses6 2020-09-04 10:47

    When the president calls marines losers and suckers he has lost all credibility for those american veterans who gave their life.As a Vietnam era veteran who served his country, I take it as a slap in the face.Hey trump tell me about your bone spurs and how you got out out o the draft.While we served out country.You Mr president are pathetic.Please do not take credit for the veterans choice act which was started by Obama 2014,after it passed congress.

  15. jerry 2020-09-04 11:35

    Real Republicans had better pull their heads out or just admit that they’re the same as trump. Here is what we have going for us here in the US.

    “More than 410,000 people in the US could die from the coronavirus by January 1, more than doubling the current death toll, a new model often cited by top health officials predicted Friday.

    That would mean 224,000 more lives lost in the US over the next four months.”

    Got that, we are not even half way there in death from the trump virus. We hear nothing from EB5 Short Rounds or Vladimir Thune on any of this. Where the hell are ye boys? If you support trump, then embrace him and his hatred for the military.

  16. jerry 2020-09-04 12:43

    Stars and Stripes shut down by the trump fascists. The voice of the American service men and women will close it’s doors on yet another slap in the face for the military and her veterans.

    “Even for those of us who are all too wearily familiar with President Donald Trump’s disdain for journalists, his administration’s latest attack on the free press is a bit of a jaw-dropper.

    In a heretofore unpublicized recent memo, the Pentagon delivered an order to shutter Stars and Stripes, a newspaper that has been a lifeline and a voice for American troops since the Civil War. The memo orders the publisher of the news organization (which now publishes online as well as in print) to present a plan that “dissolves the Stars and Stripes” by Sept. 15 including “specific timeline for vacating government owned/leased space worldwide.”

    “The last newspaper publication (in all forms) will be September 30, 2020,” writes Col. Paul Haverstick Jr., the memo’s author. ”

    Still crickets on the trump virus senators EB5 Short Rounds and Vladimir Thune on all of the highly Anti Military actions from their dear leader. Makes you wonder whose side are these two on…except for those of us who know where they stand. Silence is not golden boys, it’s a sign that your just as guilty.

  17. leslie 2020-09-04 14:30

    He also fired all staff heads and board for Voice of America. Purging the press. Previously mentioned here.

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