South Dakota has lagged the nation for growth of its gross domestic product (GDP) over the past three years. The economy actually shrunk between 2011 and 2012 as GDP declined -0.9 percent, according to recently updated federal data.
In 2012, 2013 and 2014 the Rushmore State did not keep up with national GDP growth, as the chart below shows. Still, the state logged a record $39.8 billion GDP in 2014.
The weakness in South Dakota's economy in recent years follows a period of expansion before and during the Great Recession when the rate of growth for the state's GDP exceeded that of the nation. For five straight years, between 2007 and 2011, South Dakota matched or bested national GDP growth. During the Great Recession between 2008 and 2009, when the US experienced a decline in GDP, South Dakota recorded 1 percent growth from 2008 to 2009. In 2011, as the economy recovered and corn prices rose, South Dakota recorded an eye-popping 5 percent increase in GDP growth. (The state's recent high for GDP growth came in 2002 at 10.8 percent.)
Among the 50 states, South Dakota's 0.6 percent GDP growth ranked 41st in 2014, compared to No. 1 North Dakota, at 6.3 percent, and No. 50 Alaska at -1.3 percent. (Alaska and Mississippi were the only states to experience negative GDP growth in 2014 while Virginia had 0 percent growth.)
When looking at per-capita GDP, the picture looks more grim. Since 2011, South Dakota's inflation-adjusted, per-capita GDP has declined each year from $48,064 in 2011 to $46,688 in 2014. South Dakota ranked 24th among the 50 states in 2014, compared to No. 1 Alaska at $66,160 and No. 50 Mississippi at $31,551.
Nationally, real per-capita GDP has increased from $47,641 in 2011 to $49,469 in 2014. For just one year—2011—South Dakota's per-capita GDP exceeded the national level, according to data that goes back to 1997.
When looking at GDP per working-age adult, South Dakota fares better and exceeded the national rate for four straight years, 2009-2012. In 2013, the most recent year for which this subset of data is available, South Dakota's per working-age adult GDP was $74,757 compared to the national rate of $75,175. Before the recession, the gap was much wider, as much as $10,000 in 2001 and more in 2000. That gap diminished in the years leading up to 2008 and only tipped slightly away from South Dakota's favor in 2013.