Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

The Custer economy has grown 6.8 percent from 2012 to 2013.
The Custer economy has grown 6.8 percent from 2012 to 2013.
Black Hills Knowledge Network photo/Chelsea Gortmaker

Custer - Work & Economy

Custer city has a median household income of $41,500. Out of the 1,567 total population of adults in Custer city, about 62.6 percent of them are working. According to the 2015 American Community Survey, the labor force for the entirety of Custer County in 2015 is made up of 4,038 individuals, with 3,823 currently employed and 209 unemployed. Custer County’s unemployment rate is currently 2.9 percent. For a more in-depth economic profile of Custer County, visit the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

For more information, check out this Custer City Profile on the South Dakota Dashboard, or this profile of Custer on Data USA.

Gross Sales Revenue

Custer had a total of $199,836,383 for gross sales revenue in 2016, as reported by the South Dakota Department of Revenue. Highest grossing sectors were servuces ($85.8 million), retail trade ($78.2 million), and Transportation & Public Utilities ($23.0 million). Taxable sales for Custer were over $126.3 million in 2016.

Tourism Tax

Custer county ranked fifth in the state with $36,274,831 in real taxable tourism sales in 2016.  That amount represented 4.4 percent share of the state’s total. To see where other counties rank, see our chart on the South Dakota Dashboard.

Employment & Workforce

The leading employers in the City of Custer are the Black Hills National Forest, Custer School District, and Custer County.  South Dakota is a right to work state. The top five leading industries in Custer County are Healthcare & Social Assistance, Public Administration, Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, & Hunting, Accommodations & Food Service, and Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 2015, 19.2 percent of Custer’s workforce commuted more than 30 minutes to work daily.

Custer County has a total of 2,414 jobs as of 2015 and 68.2 percent of adults are working, less than the national average of 68.7 percent.

Income & Wages

Custer has a median household income of $41,500. Out of the total population of adults in Custer, 1,567, 62.6 percent of them are working. Out of 1,774 people for whom poverty status is recorded, 248 Custer city residents are considered impoverished, making Custer’s poverty rate 14.0 percent. 

Agriculture & Resources

There were 446 farms in Custer County totaling 623,206 acres according to the 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture Census. The average farm or ranch was 1,397 acres. The number of farms engaged in cattle production was 241. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of farms devoted to agriculture increased by 24 percent.

Environment & Conservation

The Custer County Conservation District works to “provide leadership and administer programs to help people conserve, improve, and sustain [the] natural resources and environment” in Custer County, South Dakota. The Conservation District uses available technical, financial, and education resources to educate and assist local land users.

Housing

The homeownership rate in Custer city is 64.7, below the county’s 81.3 percent, and the state rate of 68.2 percent but above the national rate of 63.0 percent. Out of the total households, 580 are owner-occupied.

In 2015, 34.7 percent of Custer residents paid 30 percent or more of their income on monthly housing costs, also known as housing cost burden. Custer’s housing cost burden rate is higher than Custer County’s, at 26.8 percent, South Dakota’s at 24.5 percent, and the United States’ average at 33.3 percent.

Tourism

Custer county ranked 5th in the state with $36,274,831 in real taxable tourism sales in 2016.  That amount represented 4.4 percent share of the state’s total. To see where other counties rank, see our chart on the South Dakota Dashboard.

Three of the top five leading industries in Custer county are agriculture, forestry, fishing, & hunting, accommodations & food Service, and arts, entertainment, & recreation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, as tourism and services make up a large part of the Custer County economy.

More Information

For more data on the economies of South Dakota and the Black Hills, please check out our interactive graphs and charts on the South Dakota Dashboard.

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