The beginning of September brings us to Labor Day weekend and the start of Workforce Development Month across the country.
While America celebrates a national holiday, South Dakota has even more to celebrate. Our state has shown the rest of the country what hard work can do for an economy. In South Dakota, we have less than 700 people on unemployment, because we stayed open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and didn’t shut down a single business. When the President offered elevated unemployment benefits, we were the only state that said, “No, thank you.” There are often unknowns when making decisions as Governor, but I knew that South Dakotans wanted to work – so it comes as no surprise to me that we are one of the hardest working states in America.
There are over 467,400 employed South Dakotans that contribute to our economic and social growth every single day when they go to work. We also have a much higher rate of people who hold multiple jobs than most of the rest of the country. We don’t tax our people’s incomes, which can be a discouragement to work. We have the strongest work ethic of any state, and this strengthens our already strong economy by filling important jobs and increasing our average household income.
All of these aspects of our labor force attract businesses, diversify our economy, and continue to make South Dakota the best state in the nation to do business. We were already one of the best states to start a small business because of our low taxes and lack of a state income tax or business income tax. The affordability of living in South Dakota also makes it easier to raise a family and for bold thinkers to kickstart their ideas.
As I traveled the state this week and visited about a dozen businesses, I heard tremendous feedback from our top industry leaders. They are growing and are able to expand here, and businesses continue to choose South Dakota as a location for their new facilities. I know this is in part because of our low tax structure, but also because of our hardworking citizens.
Not laying down mandates, letting businesses choose to stay open, and refusing to accept unneeded federal aid were different ways to approach the pandemic at the time, but it’s truly the way our founders envisioned this country would look. Our approach to challenges and our way of life are bringing hope to the rest of the country. We’ve got people moving to South Dakota in record numbers. We are expected to outpace the nation through 2030. This inbound migration will continue to grow our workforce and attract more businesses to join us.
This Labor Day weekend, I want to celebrate all that South Dakota’s workforce has done for our economy. I also want to welcome all of the new and incoming members to our workforce. You are part of the growth of our already thriving economy, and you are moving here because you value the same thing we do: Freedom.