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Noem’s “Stronger Than Ever” Workforce Can’t Do All the Work South Dakota Needs

Governor Kristi Noem doesn’t get economics. She spent Labor Day celebrating a workforce that can’t fill needed jobs as “stronger than ever“:

Kristi Noem, campaign tweet, 2022.09.05.
Kristi Noem, campaign tweet, 2022.09.05.

A strong workforce has the force to do all the work that needs to be done. Yet 30,000 open jobs with no takers have South Dakota business leaders scrambling to import thousands of immigrants to bring our workforce up to full strength. So if this short-handed workforce is “stronger than ever”, then South Dakota’s workforce must be a perennial weakling, underpaid and underrespected by Noem’s flaccid one-party regime.

But then again, Kristi Noem seems to think leaving work undone is a sign of strength.


  1. Guy 2022-09-06 10:36


  2. O 2022-09-06 11:23

    I would like to focus on this statement from Cory: “A strong workforce has the force to do all the work that needs to be done.” — emphasis on “that needs to be done.” Is that ever part of the evaluation of workforce? If I decide I want to open a business and opine that I have no workers — but does anyone ever give me the rude awakening that maybe my business is silly and that work is not needed? If I open a business in SD in this climate, don’t I have to be aware that I have to compete for the workforce that exists; my job has to lure workers away from their current job or I don’t have workers? Shouldn’t dumb businesses die? (and not be propped up by the government spending public funds to bring in foreign workers to keep those businesses on life support?). How many fast food burger choices do I really need?

    Here is the real problem. Our workforce SHOULD be strong, but the GOP is the party of the owner. Restraining any real strength a workforce can attain is the heart of Gov. Noem. A strong business ownership access to cheap workers is really what this is about.

  3. John 2022-09-06 12:16

    Per economist, Mohamed A. El-Erian
    “Per the @WSJ, “rarely has the payoff for switching #jobs been greater than it is right now.””
    The graph at the link shows that job switchers increasing their salary 30-45% more than job stayers.
    This does not look good for South Dakota businesses worker recruitment . . . they’ll have to pay competitive living wages.

  4. mike from iowa 2022-09-06 12:37

    Recruit new businesses and help those here to expand and succeed. How does that square with running Smithfield out of the state?

  5. P. Aitch 2022-09-06 14:51

    Cory is correct. Your Governor Noem doesn’t understand economics, yet she sticks her big brain into it and contributes to SD’s business stagnation.
    – By breaking down the three types of unemployment into cyclical unemployment, frictional unemployment, and structural unemployment, we see that an unemployment rate of 0% is not a positive thing. A positive rate of unemployment is the price we pay for technological development and for people chasing their dreams. South Dakota is not a place where chasing dreams is encouraged or embraced.
    – Failure is how new ideas develop and if there’s anything that rivals change as evil in South Dakota, it’s failure.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-09-06 16:46

    If we have lots of employees over 65, then our workforce may be increasingly frail, not stronger than ever.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-09-06 16:46

    To John’s economist’s point, perhaps our workforce is stronger than ever… stronger in negotiating power to switch jobs and get better pay elsewhere. Uh oh.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-09-06 16:54

    O, I would be interested to see a full list of all the unfilled jobs and then whether some of those jobs really aren’t worth filling. The labor market seems to be saying so, and it certainly fits with our past discussions and my own conclusions about the South Dakota economy and culture that SD management has for too long offered substandard wages. And if employers don’t think the work they want done is worth a competitive wage, then yes, the market will deem their work unnecessary.

    One would hope that necessity, or at least consumer demand, would drive wages up high enough to recruit the necessary workers. But I will accept the argument that there is also a genuine shortage of able-bodied workers, such that even if every SD employer offered a competitive wage, we still wouldn’t find enough workers able to step in and stock all the shelves, mow all the lawns, and repair all the electric wheelchairs that our aging population may require. We have as many people as ever, but a smaller proportion of those people are fit for work.

  9. Jake 2022-09-06 18:18

    “Pay them right and they will come!” But the SD one-party thought machine says “build it and they will come!”

  10. T 2022-09-06 19:11

    The ag community average farmer is 55.
    The most dangerous job according to statistics. Impossible for young ones to get involved because of costs.
    We hire foreign help because no one wants to work the hours in Midwest or Tri-state area.
    In 10-15 years maybe sooner you will see more sell outs to corporations while government boast about the ag family ran farm. It’s not family ran anymore, only a fool would believe that. 4-5 big business already sets all farm and livestock prices along with all other commodities.
    Ya, go ahead and brag governor because the only family running these farms are fool laborers for peanuts.
    From North Dakota border to Nebraska border there are hundreds of help wanted signs. After he boomers go our world will see how much groceries costs and what self service check out lines really mean……..

  11. LCJ 2022-09-06 19:22

    Larry, Wallet Hub also named Pierre as the #1 state capitol in the whole USA.
    Do you really want me to go on a rant about the crappiest city in the state by any measurement ?
    Just saying every time we go there we see crappy street signage, hotel and restaurant service was poor before covid , drunks outside every hotel at all hours of the night. I hope Special Olympics never schedules another event in Pierre
    I really wonder where wallet hub gets their info?

  12. Arlo Blundt 2022-09-06 20:32

    If it weren’t for all those guys in their 60’s and 70’s wanting to “get out of the house” and take various (and multiple) part time jobs “helping out” businesses, contractors, convenience stores, shops, and bars, our economy would grind to a halt. Their wives do likewise, driving school busses, working in cafes, and lodgings. They could always say “the hell with it” and drag the fifth wheeler down to Bullhead City. They will when the grandkids get out of school.

  13. jakc 2022-09-06 20:57

    I wonder about Wallet Hub too. If Pierre is the best Capitol why is it the smallest? Yes, I know Montpelier is smaller, but 60 00 people live in the area compared to 20,000 around Pierre

  14. All Mammal 2022-09-06 23:41

    T- I share your assessment and it irks me that people aren’t worried like they left the stove on with a house full of kids or something. We are not preventing ourselves from making the crappiest bed we do not want to lay in.
    If your offspring aren’t interested in taking over the family farm, find a co op of FFA or 4H kids whose dream it is, and sell it to them. Sorta really cheap. But-They’ll do right by your hard work. And have a decree to have it run to your specifications for such and such time and agree it will stay put in American (natural or naturalized) possession, producing for the needs of the people.
    Furthermore, when businesses continue on the path to outsource and cut costs with automation, they ought to be taxed for not contributing to the good of all. When we have robots driving truck, and self order and self serve- tax those miser companies too. Because we are going to have a lot of out of work mouths to feed.
    It wouldn’t hurt to require a shift or two at the homes of people in need of caretakers for those who find themselves not in school, training, or employed. We are going to have to have humans doing the caregiving jobs. Makes sense to know what the giver side is like while we can before we are on the blue haired, care needing side. The welfare cycle. Need help-get help/Can help-help. Circle of life. Elton John’s best composition.

  15. mike from iowa 2022-09-07 13:05

    The only truth you need to memorize about Noem is an eternal truth…past, present or future Noem has lied, is still lying and will continue to lie.

  16. T 2022-09-07 19:28

    All mammal u are spot on
    If something doesn’t change with the farmer welfare and taking our water supply seriously we all will be on a whole different diet soon. Maybe even in our time.
    We are on it sir or ma’am as far as helping a youngster get started. We kicked our kids out long ago but have the perfect future farmer in mind. Land sales have sky rocketed some going for $10,000 an acre. Years of damaged top soils and now rising costs, would be a good time to sell out. BUT, we remain suckers for abuse, for now anyway. I’ll retire when I start seeing beets planted around here, that would mean we are all getting serious about climate change ……..and agriculture has made the difference……might be a long wait but we wait……..

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