The good news: Only 4.7% of South Dakota's hourly workers are making minimum wage or less. That percentage is higher  in Wyoming, Nebraska, and Iowa. Passing the initiated measure to raise the South Dakota minimum wage should thus not hurt too many employers.

The kinda bad news: That percentage is lower in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana.

The kinda worse news: The median wage in South Dakota, $12.78, is lower than the median wage in 31 states. Every state on our borders has a higher median wage.

The worst news: according to the ACCRA Cost of Living Index averages for 2013, South Dakota's cost of living isn't much different from North Dakota's or Minnesota's, and it's notably higher than Iowa's and Nebraska's. Factor in cost of living, and half of the hourly workers in each of our neighboring states have significantly more purchasing power than half of the hourly workers in South Dakota.

cost of living 2013 median wage MW/COLI
IA 92.1  $    13.10  $    14.22
MN 101.9  $    14.31  $    14.04
MT 98.4  $    12.96  $    13.17
ND 99.9  $    14.59  $    14.60
NE 89.5  $    13.02  $    14.55
SD 99.6  $    12.78  $    12.83
WY 96.7  $    14.24  $    14.73

What's that again, Bruce Yakley, about why you're having such a hard time hiring workers in Mitchell?