The Bureau of Economic Analysis just released its data on gross domestic product by metropolitan area for 2009. In the year that marked the official end of the recession, 222 of the 366 metro areas surveyed still saw their straight economic activity decline.
Only 20% of America's major metro areas saw real GDP grow as measured in chained 2005 dollars. Both of South Dakota's major metros made the top half of that list. Rapid City's real GDP grew by 2.0% in 2009; Sioux Falls saw 4.2% real GDP growth.
Rapid City and the surrounding turf did just under $5.1 billion in business in 2009. That amount means Rapid City now ranks as the 266th largest metro economy in the U.S., up from 281st in 2006. The Sioux Falls metroplex did over $16.1 billion of business in 2009. That ranks Sioux Falls at 120th nationally, up from 131st in 2006. That $16B also means folks in and around Sioux Falls generated more than 40% of the economic activity in all of South Dakota.
Recall that outgoing Governor M. Michael Rounds celebrated South Dakota's 2009 GDP growth of 2.2%. Contrary to what Governor Daugaard says in justification of his austerity budget, South Dakota has the money to not just sustain but increase funding for education and other vital public services. The question is whether the Governor and Legislature have the guts and vision to go get that money. (Preliminary answer: no.)