Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Tourism drives Wall's economy, led by Wall Drug's massive emporium.
Tourism drives Wall's economy, led by Wall Drug's massive emporium.
Black Hills Knowledge Network photo/Chelsea Gortmaker

Wall - Work & Economy

Wall's economy is driven by tourism, the needs of the surrounding agricultural community, government employment and the headquarters operations of Golden West Telecommunications. According to the South Dakota Governor's Office of Economic Development, the Wall School District is the leading employer with 70 employees. Golden West employs 60 people and Wall Drug approximately 50. A general profile of the Wall community and its economic characteristics can be created at the South Dakota Governor's Office of Economic Development website.

Contact the Wall Economic Development Director Cheyenne McGriff at (605) 279-2658. 

The Wall Badlands Area Chamber of Commerce  provides statistics and information useful to businesses considering locating in Wall and can be reached at can be reached at (605) 279-2665. Executive director is Cindy Schuler.

Gross Sales Revenue

Pennington County ranked 2nd in South Dakota for gross sales revenue in 2016, generating $6,551,735,881, as reported by the South Dakota Department of Revenue. Highest grossing sectors included Retail Trade ($3.11 billion), Services ($2.17 billion), and Transportation and Public Utilities ($430.0 million). Taxable sales in Pennington County exceeded $2.9 billion in 2016, according to the South Dakota Department of Revenue.

Employment

Wall has a potential labor force of 567 with 377 civilians in the labor force according to the 2015 U.S. Census American Community Survey. This gives a labor force participation rate of 66.5 percent.  Of these, 369 are employed, making Wall’s unemployment rate 1.4 percent.

According to Data USA, the most common industries in Wall are accommodations & food services, construction, information, retail trade, and educational services.

Pennington County has a total of 55,556 jobs as of 2015 and 76.2 percent of adults are working, more than the national average of 68.7 percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the county's total labor force in May of 2016 was 53,857, with 1,468 people or 2.7 percent listed as unemployed.

Income & Wages

The median household income for families in Wall in 2015 was $45,000. This is lower than the Pennington County median of $52,217, and both the South Dakota median of $53,017 and the United States median of $55,775.

In Wall 8.6 percent of residents live below the poverty line. This is half the county rate of 14.1, the state rate of 13.7, and the national rate of 14.7 percent.

Out of Pennington County’s total 41,670 households, 12,016 or 29.6 percent, pay 30 percent or more of their income on monthly housing costs, also known as housing cost burden. Pennington County ranks 61st of 66 counties in this category. This is higher that South Dakota’s Housing Cost Burden at 24.5 percent, but lower than the national rate of 33.3 percent.

Agriculture & Resources

Despite the growth of the urban population around Rapid City, agriculture continues to play an important role in Pennington County's economy. 

There were 599 farms in Pennington County totaling 1,074,103 acres according to the 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture Census. The average farm or ranch was 1,793 acres. The number of farms engaged in cattle production was 325. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of farms devoted to agriculture decreased by 9 percent. The market value of agricultural products sold in the county rose 17 percent, to $65,746,000 from $56,038,000 in 2007. Livestock accounted for 55 percent of all sales. 76 percent of farmland was devoted to pasture in Pennington County. The amount of government payments farms received totaled $2,942,000, down by 10 percent since 2007. The average principal operator of a farm was 59 years old and was most likely male and white. 19 Native Americans and 74 women were principal operators of farms. Pennington County was ranked 8th for winter wheat production in the state and 13th for horse and pony production.

For more information on agriculture in Pennington County, see the county profile at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's website. Explore more information at agcensus.gov and Rural Life and Census Data at SDSU, Brookings, SD. 

Environment & Conservation

Located in Rapid City, the Pennington County Conservation District was established in 1940 and serves a large portion of Western South Dakota. The current district covers 980,425 acres, including federal land and townships located within the district boundaries.

Housing

Pennington County ranks 48th of 66 counties in South Dakota for homeownership, with 67.0 percent of homes owned occupied. This is lower than both the national rate, 63.0 percent, and the state rate of 68.2 percent. Only 27,909 households out of 41,670 total households are owner occupied.

Out of Pennington County’s total 41,670 households,12,016 or 29.6 percent, pay 30 percent or more of their income on monthly housing costs, also known as housing cost burden. Pennington County ranks 61st of 66 counties in this category. This is higher that South Dakota’s Housing Cost Burden at 24.5 percent, but lower than the national rate of 33.3 percent.

Tourism

Pennington County ranks 1st of 66 counties in South Dakota for real taxable tourism sales, with $ 227,262,434. That amount represented 27.4 percent of the state’s total. To see where other counties rank, see our chart on the South Dakota Dashboard.

According to Data USA, the most common industries in Wall are Accommodations & Food Services, Construction, Information, Retail Trade, and Health & Social Assistance.

More Information

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

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