While much of the United States is still grappling with ever-fluctuating COVID-19 numbers impacting public health, the economic fallout from the pandemic seems to be a thing of the past in South Dakota.

According to USA Today, the latest Moody's Analytics 'back-to-normal' index has the Mount Rushmore State leading the nation in financial recovery during the pandemic.

The October 2021 numbers show that South Dakota is easily outpacing every other state by actually exceeding pre-COVID economic activity by 3.4 percent.

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In fact, the state is one of just four in America that are currently ahead of pre-pandemic levels.


  1. South Dakota +3.4%
  2. Rhode Island +1.4%
  3. Idaho +0.5%
  4. Nevada +0.2%

One area fueling the economic recovery in South Dakota is small business.

New figures from Homebase show that the hours worked at small businesses in the state are up 16.3 percent.

South Dakota also made great strides in getting back to normal in a few key categories, according to Google Mobility.

Visits to local parks are up 56 percent, which is nearly triple the national average (20%).

Trips to South Dakota grocery stores and pharmacies are up 11 percent, which is third highest in the nation behind Montana (+17%) and Iowa (+15%), while public transit ridership is up 19 percent, which is fourth-best in the U.S. behind Mississippi (+31%), Wyoming (+23%), and Arkansas (+21%).


  1. New York -14.4%
  2. Illinois -12.5%
  3. Louisiana -12.1%
  4. Hawaii -12.1%
  5. California -10.1%


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