Governor says South Dakota has 'perhaps the strongest economy' in US after refusing lockdown measures

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Gov. Kristi Noem said South Dakota has “perhaps the strongest economy in the country” after refusing to implement lockdowns that have economically throttled other states.

“South Dakota experienced a truly incredible year. Despite the pandemic forcing businesses to adjust, we have perhaps the strongest economy in the country. Our unemployment rate is back down to 3.5%. We ended the 2020 fiscal year with a budget surplus,” Noem tweeted Monday morning.

“SD businesses cut the fewest hours and the fewest wages of any state in America. They had the lowest decrease in demand for their products and services. South Dakota’s economy took a hit when COVID came, just like every state, but we’ve come roaring back stronger than ever.”

Data from the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation show the unemployment rate decreased by 0.2% to 3.5% in November. The national unemployment rate in November was 6.7%, while states with strict coronavirus restrictions, such as California and New York, had unemployment rates of 8.2% and 8.4%, respectively.

The governor has been repeatedly denounced by Democratic leaders and the media for refusing to shut South Dakota down amid the pandemic, but Noem has remained steadfast that keeping the economy open while ensuring hospitals aren’t overwhelmed has been the best plan of action.

“Given the oath I swore as governor, it is my responsibility to respect the rights of the people and to manage state operations in a balanced, prudent fashion that reflects the realities on the ground here. I am confident that we have and will continue to come out ahead of many other states in important measures of public health, economic well-being and liberty,” Noem wrote in an op-ed earlier this month.

South Dakota has also seen a booming housing market in recent months after the governor repeatedly invited people to leave states with harsh lockdowns and move to The Mount Rushmore State.

“South Dakota’s housing market is BOOMING. Folks want to live, work, and play in a state that respects Freedom and values personal responsibility,” Noem tweeted in October. “If you agree, we’d love to have you join us!”

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