Governor Kristi Noem’s latest Friday propaganda piece, fatuously titled “Making the Best State in the Nation Even Better”, refers to “our-record-breaking economy”.
So what kind of record is our economy breaking by having the biggest fourth-quarter GDP decrease in the nation?
With yesterday’s release by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of a state-by-state comparison of gross domestic product (GDP) for the 4th quarter of 2022, we get a look at how badly South Dakota’s economy did in comparison to a) the country as a whole, b) all other states, and c) our surrounding states.
So, after scanning the data, how do we describe South Dakota’s showing?
In a word: dismal.
As 2022 closed out, you can see from the above graphic that South Dakota was dead-last in the country in GDP growth, with our state’s economy contracting 4.3%. Yep, that would be minus 4.3%. By comparison, the rest of the country grew by 2.6%. The BEA graphic also starkly reveals South Dakota’s dead-last standing among our contiguous surrounding states.
This follows a steady, quarter-by-quarter contraction of South Dakota’s economy during 2022. During Q1, we were at -3.5%. During Q2, we were -1.7%. During Q3, we were -0.5% — all crowned, of course by the fourth quarter’s descent to -4.3%.
Each quarter’s performance significantly lagged the country overall and generally compared unfavorably with our contiguous neighbors.
To underscore our status as an economic laggard, BEA notes that South Dakota is one of only eight states that saw a decrease in its GDP for the entire year of 2022 [John Tsitrian, “S.D.’s Economy Made a Dismal Showing as 2022 Ended. We Finished Last in GDP and Were Nearly as Bad in Personal Income,” South Dakota Standard, 2023.04.01].
Wait—GDP declined in South Dakota in every quarter of 2022? You mean that the whole time Kristi Noem was out campaigning for reëlection on the claim that she was creating the strongest economy in the nation, that “We lead the nation in almost every single economic metric,” South Dakota was in a year-long economic recession? How can that be? Did Noem just miss the negative signs?
2022’s solid shrinkage of South Dakota’s GDP could make one long for 2021, when the state economy simply stagnated.