Last week we reported the surprise parade given to South Dakota (SD) Governor Kristi Noem for her handling of the coronavirus crisis. It is so refreshing to see Noem on the straight and level with her constituents. Talking at them, not down to them. Noem took office in January 2019.
If she keeps up this attitude of respecting the personal freedoms of her residents rather than tie them up in red tape they may end up chiselling her face into the state’s most famous monument, Mt. Rushmore.
South Dakota took a similar approach to Sweden. Both put powers in the hands of the people to exercise common sense.
While infection rates place SD at 17th among US states per head of state population, at 0.1482% it is still 28% below the national average. Sweden has an infection rate of 0.2182%, broadly in line with the US national average.
When it comes to death rates, South Dakota ranks 44th out of the 50 states. The death rate is at 0.0008%, which is 93% below the national average on a population basis. Sweden’s death rate is 0.0262%, or 33x higher than South Dakota.
A bit of history.
During the worst part of GFC, SD’s unemployment rate peaked at 5.1%, half the national average. Continuing unemployment claims in SD have surged from 2,800 to 19,664. Before the coronavirus, the SD unemployment rate was at 3.3%. May 2000 holds the record low of 2.4%.
Since the GFC, those with a bachelor degree or higher in SD has grown from 25.1% to 29.2%. Seems that even Trump-supporting hillbillies saw the value in further education. High School graduation has risen from 89.9% to 92.3%.
Gross State Product under Noem’s governorship rose 3.1% in 2019 which was below the national average of 4.1% in 2019.
It will be interesting to see net migration figures in the coming years as Americans address their experiences during this crisis.