Rapid City - Work & Economy
The jobless rate in the Rapid City metropolitan area rose to 4.8 percent in December, 2012, according to provisional data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The total number of unemployed (3,200) rose from November while the size of the civilian labor force remained steady at 66,000 after dropping from its seasonal high in August of 70,200.
From November 2011 to November 2012, employment in "trade, transportation and utilities" has declined 2.3 percent. Meanwhile, sectors adding jobs include "leisure and hospitality" (up 3.9 percent), and "mining, logging and construction" (up 4.5 percent).
Trade, transportation and utilities account for the largest share of jobs in Pennington County with nearly 21 percent of total employment. Government acounts for nearly 18 percent, followed by education and health services with 17 percent.
Since the onset of the recession in 2008, peak summer employment in the Rapid City metro area has not returned to its previous high of 67,834, but the trend has been steadily upward since 2010. Meanwhile, the total number of employed workers, which rose sharply in the fall of 2008 and peaked at 4,102 in March, 2010 has continued to decline on a seasonal basis. In November, 2012, the total number of unemployed workers was 2,906.
For more details and an overview of the economy in the Rapid City Metropolitan Statistical Area (Pennington and Meade counties), visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Updated February 7, 2013.)
Most employed resident work in the county, with less than 5 percent commuting out. The median drive to work lasts 17 minutes. 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 economy. Rapid City Economic Development also provides market data on the local economy. Identify the area's largest employers, their sales volume range, number of years in business and more in the spreadsheet linked here. For more on the Rapid City community's economic development effort, see our Economic Development resource page.
Income & Wages
Pennington County's median income exceeds most other counties in the Black Hills region and has risen from $37,485 in 2000 to $46,972 in 2009. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the county's total labor force in November 2012 was 53,574, with 2,370 people or 4.4 percent listed as unemployed. When salaries are compared to similar cities out of state, the Black Hills area ranks below Casper, Billings, Flagstaff and Bismarck.
Gross Domestic Product
Despite a sluggish economy across the nation, the total value of goods and services produced in the Rapid City metropolitan region (including Pennington and Meade counties) grew by an estimated 2.6 percent in 2010. This growth followed a 0.6 percentage decline in 2009 (based on revised figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis). With this growth, the Rapid City metropolitan area ranked 133rd among the fastest-growing urban economies in the nation. Regionally, Rapid City surpassed Sioux Falls (up 2.3 percent), Billings (up 0.4 percent) and Casper (down 3.8 percent). Only Bismarck (which was up 5.1 percent), showed stronger growth.
Gross Sales Tax Revenue
Below is an interactive chart that details the by sector gross sales revenue for Rapid City businesses from May 2012 through April 2013.
The Rapid City economy generated nearly $217.9 million in business activity subject to state sales tax in July and August 2011. This represented a 6.9 percent increase over the same period in 2010. Retail sales rose 9.6 percent. Manufacturing staged a dramatic recovery, increasing 47.8 percent. Meanwhile, construction suffered the biggest decline with revenues down nearly 10.8 percent. For more details, see the full report from the South Dakota Department of Revenue.
Environment & Conservation
- Mayor's Ad Hoc Task Force on Green Cities--information on the community group, including the Final Report from January 30, 2011 and resources for developing green initiatives in the community.
The American Communities Survey from the US Census Bureau has data on housing for Rapid City. Included in the data are the number of rental units compared to homeownership rates, vacancy rates, what percentage of income goes towards housing in Rapid City, and the average age of housing in the city. Data is also included for the United States and South Dakota for comparison.
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 284,126 passenger "emplanements" in 2010. This volume represented a 6.63 percent increase over 2009, and was almost exactly in line with the growth predicted in the airport's 2008 Master Plan. By contrast, passenger volume rose 12.67 percent in Casper, WY; 6.48 percent in Bismarck, ND; 6.98 percent in Sioux Falls, SD; 6.04 percent in Bozeman, MT; and 3.75 percent in Fargo, ND. In Billings, Montana, passenger volume fell by 2.31 percent. The May, 2008 Masterplan provides a wealth of information on the future growth of the airport. (The executive summary is available here. The full report is available here.)