My Friday post on South Dakota’s non-unique work ethic got me thinking about how we might actually measure work ethic.
One measure of work is the wealth we produce, gross domestic product per capita. According to Wise Voter, the places where workers are producing the most wealth per person are mostly on the coasts, with a couple of notable inland exceptions… of which South Dakota is not one:
New Yorkers produce $96,502 in GDP per person (and that’s including babies and other folks who aren’t working). Minnesota ranks #15, producing $75,234 in GDP per person. South Dakota ranks #21—$70,148 GDP/person.
So by that metric, South Dakotans work 7% less than Minnesotans and 28% less than New Yorkers.
Nine of the top ten states for labor productivity are on the coasts; the only inland exception is Illinois. Jones doesn’t include Washington D.C., so New York is #1 here, with labor productivity of $117.86 per hour. Minnesota is #18 at $78.54. South Dakota is #33 at $70.46. So for each hour on the job, South Dakota workers produce 10% less value than Minnesota workers and 40% less value than New York workers.
It’s nice to tell stories about hard-working people we know, but from a statistical perspective—which captures the experience of millions of people—South Dakota workers produce less value than their counterparts in Minnesota and New York.