South Dakotans produced 2.0% more goods and services per hour worked in 2021 than they did in 2020. That’s 21st-highest in the U.S., but alas, we dragged down productivity for the Midwest, which as a region saw 2.2% annual growth in labor productivity:
Notice that vivid blue spot to our east: Minnesota was one of five states to post better than 3.0% annual growth in labor productivity.
Over the last 15 years, we’ve been following Kristi Noem’s example and slacking off. The Midwest had the lowest labor productivity growth of the four regions in the BLS geography, only 1.1% from 2007 through 2021, compared to 1.2% down South, 1.4% back Northeast, and 2.1% out West. South Dakota matched the regional rate of 1.1% growth, falling behind Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, and Bakken-booming North Dakota. We also made less improvement in our productivity than all those supposedly lazy liberals in New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Oregon, and California.
South Dakota’s average annual percent gain in labor productivity over the last 15 years was only 28th largest in the nation. Hmm… looks like we need to spend less time jetsetting and watching horse races and more time catching up with our neighbors in getting things done on the job.