Governor Kristi Noem continues to flog her talking point that “South Dakota has the strongest economy in America,” even though she has yet to point to any quantitative measure that proves that point. South Dakota’s per-capita budget surplus is smaller and its per-capita reliance on federal coronavirus aid is larger than some neighboring states’. On Thursday. Noem tweeted South Dakota’s unemployment rate of 2.7% as evidence that “Our state’s economy continues to be the best in the nation,” but New Hampshire ties us for unemployment, and five states have lower jobless rates.
Even the Governor’s own Bureau of Finance and Management recognizes that South Dakota does not have the strongest economy in America. According to the BFM’s Supplemental Slides to the FY2023 Budget Address (not the colorful, kid-in-a-candy-store slides the Governor presented on December 7 to justify her federally fueled spending binge, but the real spreadsheets with detailed numbers, the kind real Governor Dennis “Grandpa Cheap” Daugaard focused on when he did budgets), South Dakota’s economic performance is below average this year and will be below average next year:
BFM expects South Dakota’s GDP to grow 1.1 percentage points less than the national economy this year and 2.0 percentage points below the national economy’s rate in 2022.
So South Dakota isn’t just lagging behind sixteen states and D.C. on per-capita GDP. In the Governor’s own budget assumptions, South Dakota is underperforming the national average for economic growth and will continue to underperform next year. Noem’s own budgeters are telling us we don’t have the strongest economy in America.