Governor Kristi Noem offered another self-delusional assessment of South Dakota’s economy on Twitter yesterday, speaking of her cabinet meeting that day, “we discussed South Dakota’s economy (still the strongest in the country)” as she outlined the agenda for the meeting.
I noted here last week that WalletHub ranks South Dakota’s economy 37th in the nation, something that must have escaped the notice of Noem and his staff, and I wonder if they’re now overlooking MSNBC’s assessment of our climate Business, which came out today. In MSNBC’s poll, South Dakota fares slightly better, ranking us 22nd in the “Best US States for Business.”
This is an improvement on WalletHub’s dismal assessment, but for context, consider that in MSNBC’s poll, four of our contiguous neighbors (Nebraska at No. 7, Minnesota at No. 9, Iowa No. 12 and North Dakota No. 13) are well ahead of us. Montana comes in at 30th and Wyoming at 32nd.
Perhaps a more objective ranking comes when we compare South Dakota’s Gross Domestic Product to the 1st Quarter 2022 to the rest of the country. Overall, the United States recorded a 1.6% decline in GDP for the quarter. In South Dakota, we were down 3.5%. Three of our next door neighbors fared better (MN, IA, NE), three worse (ND, MT, WY).
The bottom line here is that two prominent private sector analysts conclude that we are far from having “the strongest economy in the country”. Data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis supports this claim.
I would like someone close to Noem to inform him that not only do we not have the strongest economy in the United States, we do not even have the strongest economy in our region.
John Tsitrian is a Black Hills businessman and writer. He was a weekly columnist for the Rapid City Journal for twenty years. His articles and commentary have also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Denver Post, and The Omaha World-Herald. Tsitrian served in the Marines for three years (1966-69), including a 13-month tour as a radioman in Vietnam.