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The sound of hammer silence

South Dakota State Roundup

January 1, 2010


Ron Wirtz Editor, fedgazette
The sound of hammer silence

Despite the fact that the state unemployment rate, at about 5 percent, is low compared to most states, the construction sector in the state has been taking its lumps during the recession.

Associated General Contractors of America, an industry trade group, said total employment in the sector dropped by about 1,400, or about 6 percent, during the 12 months ending this past September. If accurate, that would represent more than one-fifth of the net drop in employment statewide during this period, according to state figures. Sioux Falls saw the single largest drop of any city, from about 8,500 to 8,000 construction jobs.

The good news for the state and its largest metro is that it fared much better than most. The loss rate of construction jobs in Sioux Falls, for example, was lower than in 80 percent of metros nationwide.

There also might be work around the corner for some hammers. According to a November report by Moody’s, South Dakota was one of 11 states (which also included Montana and North Dakota) emerging from the recession, based on employment rates, home prices, residential construction and manufacturing.
Ron Wirtz
Editor, fedgazette

Ron Wirtz is a Minneapolis Fed regional outreach director. Ron tracks current business conditions, with a focus on employment and wages, construction, real estate, consumer spending, and tourism. In this role, he networks with businesses in the Bank’s six-state region and gives frequent speeches on economic conditions. Follow him on Twitter @RonWirtz.