Rapid City sees low unemployment rate

RAPID CITY, S.D, (KEVN) - The national unemployment rate has dipped down to 3.6 percent, the lowest in nearly fifty years. It's even lower in Rapid City.

Rapid City's unemployment rate is nearly three percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It's the lowest it has been since 2000.

With more startup business staying in the city, it helps boost the economy.

"You have no choice but to stay here and that's a great thing because you've established yourself in the community. You like the area. You've taken advantage of all the things that's great in Rapid City and the Black Hills and now your industry is staying here," Ascent Innovation Client Manager Mitch Nachtigall said.

But when it comes to manufacturing and technology-based jobs Rapid City falls short. Nachtigall said people in these type of jobs make on average $75,000 which fuels more consumer spending dollars in the local economy.

There are only 3,000 people employed in manufacturing jobs in Rapid City, a statistic Property Meld CEO Ray Hespen wants to change.
After graduating from college, Hespen struggled to find a job in the city so he traveled to other states. When Hespen returned he wanted to bring more opportunities to local innovators.

"Not only capitalize on the talent pool that we have here but actually give people an opportunity to do what I struggled to have when I left school," Property Meld CEO Ray Hespen said.

Tourism brings in billions of dollars to South Dakota, therefore seasonal jobs are vital. Out of 70,000 total jobs in Rapid City, only 8,000 are seasonal.

"We know that last year because of the H2B visas that we had a tough time finding enough workers. There was a couple of hotels that were not able to open last year because we just didn't have the workers. So I know that there are some concerns with that field as well," Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Linda Rabe said.