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Purchasing Power Higher in South Dakota

Wage Study Helps Dispel Myths

Monday, September 30, 2013
PIERRE, S.D. – The Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s (GOED) 2012 Wage Study is now available online, once again proving that the purchasing power of many occupations puts South Dakota on par with the rest of the country. Overall, South Dakota ranked 17th.

“When you look at purchasing power - what you can buy after the taxes are taken out of your paycheck and factoring in your local cost of living – South Dakota ranks pretty well,” said Pat Costello, commissioner, Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “While we rank low nationally when looking strictly at gross pay, that doesn’t really paint an accurate picture of how far your money goes.”

To calculate purchasing power, the GOED used the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Standard Occupational Codes (SOC), which provide detailed, accurate wage and employment information for each state by specific occupation.

From there, federal income taxes, state income taxes and FICA/Social Security were deducted from median gross pay. The Council for Community and Economic Research’s (C2ER) Cost of Living Index (COLI), was also factored in, based on the largest city in each state.

This method was repeated for more than 550 occupations that are found in South Dakota. For the purposes of this study, all wage earners were assumed to file as single, using the standard deduction, with no dependents.

The data is all available in a searchable format online at Click on “News & Media,” and then “Publications & Studies.”

“I encourage everyone to get online and take a look at what we have out there, said Costello. “This information will be helpful to employers, the public, and economic development officials as we work to break down the “low wage” misconception in South Dakota.”

Click Here to view the wage study.

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Members of the media requesting more information should contact Mary Lehecka Nelson at or (605) 773-3301.