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Q4 GDP Decline Caps Year-Long Recession in South Dakota

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?

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Real GDP: Percent Change at Annual Rate from 2022 Q3 to 2022 Q4, 2023.03.31.
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Real GDP: Percent Change at Annual Rate from 2022 Q3 to 2022 Q4, 2023.03.31.

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.

Hmmm… maybe making South Dakota “even better” would involve (1) investing in real economic development and (2) not lying about economic data.


  1. grudznick 2023-04-01

    Today, and the Conservatives with Common Sense breakfasting, we will have a speaker on how we old farts are going to be dominating the Black Hills landscape for decades. With any luck, soon the young families with the loud obnoxious children will stop visiting during the summers because of what they will perceive as curmudgeon overload.

  2. Nix 2023-04-01

    I think I have seen you at the old farts table
    at 6:30 am at Our Place in Custer.
    No one dares sit there, because it’s the old farts table.
    Could this be the famous Conservatives with
    Common Sense hangout?
    The next time I stop in for my coffee, I’ll say hello.
    If you’re not there, I’ll check Skogons.

  3. Donald Pay 2023-04-01

    Grudz, I remember when Dr. Thomas Power, an economist from University of Montana, talked about the impact of retirees on the Montana economy, and how South Dakota could also benefit by looking at retirees as a resource. This must have been in the early 1990s, when renewed gold mining was ripping up Lawrence County. He suggested that retirees had made their money, and were now going to spend it in the time they had left. He said retirees were a gold rush that didn’t deplete the environment, as did mining. Many of us were skeptical about that statement, because many retirees required housing that was encroaching on forest lands.

  4. grudznick 2023-04-01

    Mr. Nix, that joint known as Our Place is a dandy eatery. Skogen, with an “e”, is a bit fancy for most Conservatives with Common Sense, and might consider beefing up (no pun) their portions just a bit.

    Mr. Pay, you are righter than right that a lot of old farts do like to build nice houses in the woods. Some of grudznick’s best friends, like my good friend Bob, have done that in the past. But they build them on properties they own, it is not like they are going into your spotted owl habitats or expanding the wildland-urban interface that much.

  5. Mark Anderson 2023-04-01

    Gosh, this just has to be Soros fault, doesn’t it?

  6. grudznick 2023-04-01

    Mr. Uncle Joe President Biden’s fault, I speculate.

  7. O 2023-04-01

    Hilsdale math?

  8. ABC 2023-04-02

    This is physical proof that R Party can not manage the economy at all. Even though they got 3.8 billion dollars from Commie Joe Biden. 5th graders would do better!

    The Democrats? You’d have to look at 1970s data to decide.

    With Dems out, Rs will win Governors race next time.

    So here’s your choices, criticize Noem and the next Ripppy for their ultra poor managing of the economy, or YOU and me, as Governors, we manage the economy every day by our thinking and spending?

    Criticize or DO! It’s always the same choice, fellow Governors.

    No election needed, YOU are Governor now. Act like one.

  9. John 2023-04-02

    Rapid City is headed for the sewer if 65% of its new residents are over 65 years old.
    Oldsters do not invest in the future of communities, schools, soccer pitches, bike paths, etc. Oldsters invest in pickleball courts in every park – but not in kids or kid centric things. Rapid City will be locked in octogenarian ville hell for over a generation — until they die off. Rapid City will be a flag ship for old thinking, old ways of doing stuff. It may be a city without a future.

  10. jkl 2023-04-02

    Well at least we are leading the nation.

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