For all the millions in tax dollars we’ve spent to put Governor Kristi Noem’s costumed charm on national TV to
boost her VP candidacy recruit workers, South Dakota’s workforce shortage appears to continue unabated. So suggested members of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors at their meeting yesterday:
Adviser Doug Sharp of Watertown, who runs a car dealership, said the regional economy is strong, but finding people to work is a problem.
“We’ve got a lot of job openings,” he said.
Dan Newell, president of McGowan Capital Group in Sioux Falls, said the state’s biggest city keeps growing, but “it’s slowing down a bit.” He said Sioux Falls’ biggest problem is the same as Watertown’s.
“Even finding bodies is hard,” he said, let alone people with qualifications. “Trying to keep our talent in the state, rather than going elsewhere, is the continual challenge we’ll all have.”
To help with that problem, “We ought to be looking a little more at legal immigration, and I’ll just leave it at that,” said Joel Rosenthal, manager at Central Plains Tractor Parts in Sioux Falls [Joshua Haiar, “Governor’s Economic Advisers Caution Against Optimism in 2024,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2023.10.25].
Noem has claimed her “Freedom Works Here” ads have gotten thousands of people to apply to move here. Are they just coming for Freedom and forgetting the Work part of the slogan? Are they getting here and finding they can’t afford to work because they can’t find affordable child care? Why are Sharp and Newell and pretty much every other employer finding it easier to fill their openings thanks to the Governor’s big investment in marketing
herself the great state of South Dakota as a dreamy workplace?