I doubt that South Dakota Governor Daugaard has ever given an interview in which he did not mention that South Dakota is a great place to do business. One could be forgiven if one believed that Daugaard stays up nights finding new ways to paraphrase Herbert Hoover: "The business of South Dakota is business."
I was off doing debate coach stuff for much of the past two weeks, so I may have missed Daugaard's reaction to MoneyRates.com's rankings of the best states to earn a living. (I also apologize if I missed other South Dakota blog posts about this study.) The criteria were pretty simple:
This study's rankings are based on each state's Compensation and Quality Factor, a proprietary metric based on these factors:
Average salary, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).South Dakota wasn't first on this list. That honor went to Washington state. South Dakota didn't make the top 10. Neighboring Minnesota ranked 3rd, North Dakota 7th, and Nebraska 10th. Scrolling down the list, two of our other neighbors were in the top twenty: Iowa ranked 15th and Wyoming 17th. Montana made it into the top 50 half of states coming in at 22.
Cost of living, based on data from C2ER.
Employment rate, based on BLS data.
Workplace conditions, based on the "Work Environment" component of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
South Dakota didn't make the top half. When it comes to earning a living, South Dakota is the best of the worst, coming in 26th. I'm not a marketing guru, but I doubt most people respond well to invitations to be "art of the best of the worst". Further, "Come Work in South Dakota; Earning a Living Here Is Only Slight More Difficult Than It Is In Montana" doesn't have much of a ring to it and it doesn't fit on a bumper sticker.
Businesses apparently appreciate a state that has a bunch of people willing to work hard for low pay. Workers on the other hand see the benefits of neighboring states that pay more, have better working conditions, and a cost of living that doesn't eat up the paycheck like Daugaard and his apologists claim those places do.
Given that business recruitment has been mediocre at best, some policies that make life better for workers might be in order.