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South Dakotans 7th Most Likely to Seek Work out of State

Marketwatch looks at some data from job-search site and declares South Dakota one of the states workers hate:

States Workers Want to Escape 2014

Marketwatch misleads with that heading.'s data simply show the percentage of job seekers in each state who search for jobs on in other states. has no metrics on worker animus toward their current states. I can attest that it is entirely possible to love one's home state yet be obliged by personal and economic conditions to seek employment in another state.

But out of all states and D.C., South Dakota has the seventh-highest percentage of in-state job seekers who search out-of-state listings for job opportunities. Using Marketwatch's terminology, let's compare how many workers want to escape from other states in our region, as well as how many from elsewhere would like to come to our state:

State % in-state seeking
work out-state
% of job seekers
from out-state
Iowa 34.0% 31.0%
Minnesota 26.5% 22.1%
Montana 36.0% 54.7%
Nebraska 32.9% 29.0%
North Dakota 46.5% 58.9%
South Dakota 42.4% 37.1%
Wyoming 47.8% 63.5%

Indeed's 42.4% is probably inflated by a skewed sample. Small-town folks (and that's pretty much everyone in South Dakota, even you Phillips Avenue loftsters) with no thought of leaving town aren't looking at national job-search engines for jobs; they're asking their sister-in-law if the elevator is hiring. But Indeed likely misses similar samples of forever-hometowners in every state. Subtract 5 or 10 points from everybody, and the relative scores stay the same.

That said, note that Minnesota has significantly lower percentages than South Dakota of locals looking for jobs elsewhere and elsewherians seeking jobs in-state. Those difference suggest that Minnesotans see more job opportunities in Minnesota than South Dakotans see in South Dakota.

Minnesotans do make up the largest portion of out-state job seekers looking at the South Dakota want ads, but far more Minnesotans search in Wisconsin (the most popular choice among Minnesotan seekers), California, Texas, Florida, and North Dakota. When South Dakotans look abroad for work, they look first to Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, Nebraska, and North Dakota. We look out-state more often, but we don't look as far away as wanderlusting Minnesotans.


  1. bearcreekbat 2014.08.02

    One factor not considered is the hold that the Black Hills can have on a person. I have met so many people who tried working in other states after living West River. Most of them eventually come back to the beauty and serenity of the Black Hills.

  2. Tim 2014.08.02

    There is more to that hold than you think. I could make much more money if I got out of SD, however, at my age, kids grown and house almost paid for, I can't think of a much better place to retire. Gets a bit cold in winter but everyplace will have something not to like.

  3. charlie5150 2014.08.02

    I believe the future has been made perfectly clear for SD youth. If you are not a white Christian Republican with nuts hanging from your bumper and a gun-rack in the back window, you best just move along.

  4. Tim 2014.08.02

    I agree with Charlie's assessment of the youth outlook here, my kids were still in high school and had already figured that out, that is the one bad thing about retiring here that might make us consider leaving, once we see where the kids end up. Daugaard talks a big game on keeping the youth in state, but his actions do not match the BS that comes out of his mouth.

  5. Jenny 2014.08.02

    People I know in MN are seriously NOT interested in moving to SD for a job career. Most of them know all about the joke wages and misleading 'low' cost of living there. The SD teacher wages are especially notorious in MN.
    The only thing Minnesotans actually ever like seeing in SD is the Black Hills. ND - that's a different story with the oil boom up there. I know a woman I work with, her son went to school in ND and stayed there after he graduated to seek out employment in the oil industry.

  6. Jenny 2014.08.02

    I love that, Charlie 5150! True, true! The Who Your Daddy Is is also very important in SD. The Last Name is taken very seriously and you're guaranteed a well-paying job for life if you have the name.
    South Dakotans are a very clannish type and it is now to the point a one-party oligarchy like Cory H has said.

  7. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.02

    As I write this, my niece is having a moving party today, friends and relatives are helping her pack to relocate in New Mexico.
    She has a very well paying paralegal position awaiting her.

  8. Jenny 2014.08.02

    The Black Hills is becoming a retirement destination but only for upper middle class and wealthier people. Out of staters that have been looking at retiring in the Black Hills are astonished with the property taxes and when they look at the whole picture (healthcare, cost of living taxes) a lot of them question whether the Black Hills is worth it. Also, stories of racism, anti-gay bills and city and state corruption does not help either. I've also heard comments that parts of the Black Hills are actually trashy looking with run down trailers and rickety old tourist traps all over the place, wondering if they really want to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a home there.

  9. Jenny 2014.08.02

    Then you report it to the city if you want to question a display having permission. You don't destroy it (but then again I'm expecting to much from my fellow man).

  10. Jenny 2014.08.02

    This last comment is supposed to be in another article. Sorry Cory.

  11. Tim 2014.08.02

    Jenny, that is what the ruling party wants, old, white and retired, the kind of people that vote republican no matter what.

  12. jerry 2014.08.02

    It looks like the same old mistake is being looked at yet again. Why on earth anyone could think the republicans can govern should move here and see that it does not work on a state level any better than it does in the United States House of Representatives. When you put the reins of government in these morons hands, you know the team is gonna play out before it even gets to work.

  13. charlie5150 2014.08.02

    South Dakota - The Land of Infinite Variety. The weather is subject to change, but the political climate is solid like a rock with little to no chance of change. Dammit, where are those kids GOING?

  14. jerry 2014.08.02

    I am at 50% with my children. My oldest son lives and works here in South Dakota and my youngest is in Wyoming. The youngest just could not find a job that would pay him a living wage and Wyoming had what fit him the best.

  15. JeniW 2014.08.02

    So Gov. Gaugaard wasted time and money hanging out at the Mall of America to try to recruit people to move to SD?

  16. JeniW 2014.08.02

    My bad, it should be Gov. Daugaard....

  17. jerry 2014.08.02

    I think it was better as Gaugaard

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.02

    Jerry, interesting that you mention Wyoming. Note that, even with their higher wages, they have a higher percentage of workers looking for work elsewhere (47.8%) than we do.

  19. Tim 2014.08.02

    Cory, Wyoming is also has a very conservative state government, a coincidence?

  20. mike from iowa 2014.08.02

    What's all this fuss about having to leave any state. According to wingnuts,Lib voters live high on the hog off welfare and drive new SUVs. Why would they move somewhere else?

  21. jerry 2014.08.02

    Personally, I really do not care much for Wyoming other than a few places there. But it suits my youngest and he feels that his pay is something he can now live with and have some things in life that matter to him. On a side note, I think that moving from a place like Wyoming is a move with strength as you may have somewhat of a bankroll to sustain you while you wait for your first checks and are able to pay for the expense of the move. In South Dakota, when you move from here, you take a loan out from mom and dad to make it as you are flat broke and need a helping hand.

  22. Stan Gibilisco 2014.08.02

    How ironic that this wanderlust from Minnesota has finally settled in South Dakota.

  23. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.08.02

    Jenny, right about everything.

    I like Wyoming in a generic sort of way. Isn't most of the population loaded on the western side? Jackson Hole, etc? How much power do Mormons have in WY? They are generally very conservative on social issues.

    I really think that conservative states don't get the importance of a liberal take on social issues. It really matters to higher income workers and the really big companies that need smart, educated employees. They insist on it. I think that's because smart, educated people come in every human variety and the businesses don't want to artificially limit the pool.

    Unless you're Mallwart and only want minimum wage people so stressed by trying to keep their families fed, sheltered and clothed that they have time and energy for nothing else.

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