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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Lake County Workforce Shrinks, Dropping November Unemployment to 5.9%

Unemployment in Lake County dropped to 5.9% in November, down a full percentage point from the revised 6.9% figure from October.

Unfortunately, that doesn't mean more of our neighbors are working. October is traditionally our best jobs month, but we shed more jobs than usual in November. 100 Lake County jobs went poof last month. Luckily for our stats, 180 people went poof from the workforce, producing a net decrease in unemployment from 480 to 400.

So, for those of you keeping score at home, Lake County is now down to 6360 jobs, down 325 from October 2006, when the Lake Area Improvement Corporation declared its goal of creating 400 new jobs in five years. We thus have 725 jobs to create in two years. Let's get to work!

Looking around the septa-county region, our neighbors in Moody and Miner are having a tougher time finding work, with respective jobless rates of 6.8% and 6.3%. But Miner County actually added five jobs in November and saw fifteen people join its workforce. Brookings County had the best unemployment rate in the neighborhood, creeping up just a tick in November to 3.5%. Last month Brookings managed to add 125 new jobs, only to have that number outpaced by 160 people joing the workforce (maybe that's where Lake County's workers went?).

Lake County's unemployment rate was the 14th-highest among all counties in the state. Buffalo, Shannon, Jackson, and Dewey counties are the only areas reporting official unemployment rates in double digits.

Yankton is back at the top of the heap of big towns where it's hard to find work, with November unemployment at 7.3% (which still beats the pants off the national rate of 10%). The cities with the lowest unemployment numbers: Pierre (2.9%), Aberdeen (3.2%), Vermillion (3.4%), and Brookings (3.5%).


  1. Pierre having the lowest unemployment? Isn't that where our state government is headquartered?

  2. I would be curious to know the unemployment rates for those counties in South Dakota that have an economic development corporation that employ full time staff (as we do), versus those with something else (part time, volunteer, or none at all). As Cory points out the jobs gained or lost over time must be considered with the unemployment rate. When people stop looking for work they are no longer counted. What percentage commute? We really do need a more insight than basic numbers provide.

  3. Steve, I've lived in Central South Dakota and have watched Pierre grow my entire life. Some of the new housing that pops up there might be because with smaller families there are fewer people living in each house. But the overall population has grown and state government is the reason.

  4. Steve Sibson12/23/2009 1:35 PM


    Lets go a step farther. Let us determine who those employees are and have them pay for the development costs instead of the taxpayers. Anybody want to bet that their salary covers the costs?


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