North Dakota Job Boom Ripples Through South Dakota Workforce

Officials express concern that North Dakota’s dynamic job market could de-stabilize South Dakota’s workforce.

In today’s economy, an overheated job market is a good problem to have. But not for South Dakota industry and labor officials, many of whom are concerned that their sister state’s booming oil patch will have a de-stabilizing effect on South Dakota’s labor force.

According to the Jamestown Sun, North Dakota added more than 19,000 jobs from September 2010 to September of this year. The majority of these workers relocated from out of state, many from neighboring South Dakota.

“North Dakota is keeping us on our toes,” says Pam Roberts, South Dakota’s secretary of labor and regulation. “It’s not an extreme move for someone to move from South Dakota to North Dakota.”

2009 data indicates that nearly 1,000 South Dakota residents performed daily work commutes to North Dakota. However, given that much of North Dakota’s oilfield boom occurred in 2010, this figure may dramatically understate the labor resources that are streaming out of South Dakota each day.

Although officials don’t believe that the numbers of South Dakotans working in North Dakota has yet reached the level of a “massive hemorrhage”, workforce migration is a concern, based on Roberts’ belief that the demand for skilled workers in South Dakota is on the rise.



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