Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Rapid City Regional Airport east of Rapid City serves most of western South Dakota and beyond.
Rapid City Regional Airport east of Rapid City serves most of western South Dakota and beyond.
Wikimedia photo

Pennington County - Work & Economy

Pennington County ranks 24th of 66 counties in South Dakota for median income, at $52,217 in 2015. 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. In 2015, the largest industries in Pennington County were health & social assistance, retail trade, and accommodations & food service, according to this Pennington County Profile from Data USA. For an in-depth economic profile of Pennington County, visit the South Dakota Governor's Office of Economic Development. The Rapid City Chamber of Commerce has aggregated data links related to the Rapid City economyRapid City Economic Development also provides market data on the local economy.

City Profiles

The South Dakota Dashboard offers city profiles for South Dakota cities with populations of 1,000 and greater using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Find total population, racial breakdown, gender breakdown, poverty rates, disability rates, home ownership rates, housing cost burden data, median income, median age and more for Rapid City, Box Elder, and Hill City on the South Dakota Dashboard.

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

The top five leading industries in Pennington County are healthcare & social assistance, retail trade, accommodations & food service, educational services, and construction, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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 Pennington County Median Household Income for those 65+ was $39,808 in 2015, higher the South Dakota median of $37,896 but lower than the United States median of $40,971. Pennington County’s Median Household Income in 2015 was $52,217, down from 48,440 in 2014.

The number of people living in Poverty in Pennington County is 12,946, approximately 12.2 percent of the total population. This is lower than both the state’s poverty rate of 13.7 percent and the national rate of 14.7 percent.

Out of Pennington County’s total 41,155 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.

Transportation

Rapid Transit System

The Rapid Transit System has been providing residents and visitors with safe and reliable public transportation in Rapid City for more than 30 years. Rapid Transit System offers affordable fares and convenient routes to get you to your destination in a safe, efficient manner. Services include RapidRide, Dial-A-Ride, and the City View Trolley.

Rapid City Regional Airport

The Rapid City Regional Airport serves as the primary airport for a broad area that includes most of western South Dakota, as well as parts of Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Rapid City airport ranked 156th among the nation's airports with 264,170 passenger "enplanements" in 2015. This volume represented a 0.92 percent decrease from 2014. The airport employs 24 permanent employees and has budgeted an estimated $5 million for  Operations & Maintenance and $7,795,056 for Capital Improvements.

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.

Two of the top five leading industries in Pennington County are Retail Trade and Accommodations & Food Service, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, as tourism and services make up a large part of the Pennington 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 at the South Dakota Dashboard.

Related items

  • Rapid City Teachers Receive Salary Increase During 2016-2017 School Year

    Teachers in the Rapid City Area School District received a salary increase of more than nine percent last year, as reported by KOTA News. This…
  • RapidRide Sees Increase in Student Ridership

    At the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, RapidRide experienced a 46.9 percent increase in student ridership. According to KOTA News, there were 11,695 youth…
  • Rapid City Teachers Still in Contract Negotiations

    The Rapid City Education Association and Rapid City Area Schools are still in negotiations concerning this year’s contract for the district’s teachers, reports KOTA News.…

525 University Loop, Suite 202
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 716-0058   [email protected]