South Dakota pays to fill surplus of jobs

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August 28, 2012

South Dakota

By Jennifer Springer

PIERRE, South Dakota: South Dakota recently initiated a new program intending to bring in workers from other states in order to fill a surplus of positions within the state.[1][2] South Dakota agreed to pay up to $5 million to the Wisconsin-based recruiting firm Manpower Group to help pursue the new 1,000 New South Dakotans initiative. The plan is to attract 1,000 new workers to South Dakota in fields such as health care, education, manufacturing, technology, and finance by the spring of 2014.[1] The hope is that the millions spent on recruiting will quickly be recouped in the form of the taxes and other revenues collected through the arrival of all of those new workers.[1]

According to a state policy adviser, Kim Olson, the idea for the state to hire a recruiting firm grew out of a brainstorming session in Governor Dennis Daugaard's office.[2]

South Dakota aims to add 100 professionals each in engineering, finance and information technology, as well as 700 skilled manufacturing workers as part of the program, and are recruiting health care workers and math and science teachers in other ways.[2]

One explanation for such an initiative by the state stems from the lower unemployment rates across South Dakota's neighboring states, reducing the number of employees from the immediate vicinity freely coming into the state seeking work. South Dakota, North Dakota, and Nebraska currently boast unemployment rates under 4.5%, compared to the national rate of over 8%.[1] Because of this, South Dakota has started to recruit employees from farther reaching states such as Minnesota, Arizona, and states on both coasts.[1]

According to economists, South Dakota has "weathered the nation's economic storm better than many states in part because of its agriculture-fueled economy, business climate and smaller housing boom and bust."[2]

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