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The service industry is the largest economic contributor in South Dakota. This sector includes the finance, retail and health care industries. Government spending is another important segment of the South Dakota’s economy, providing over ten percent of the gross state product. Ellsworth Air Force Base, near Rapid City South Dakota is the second-largest single employer in South Dakota.
Agriculture has historically been a key component of the state’s economy. Although other industries have expanded rapidly in recent decades, agricultural production is still very important to South Dakota’s economy, especially in rural areas. Major products of the state’s agriculture include beef, soybeans, oats, mutton, wheat, corn (maize), pork, wool, alfalfa, sunflowers, and poultry. Agriculture-related industries such as meat packing and ethanol production also have a considerable economic impact on South Dakota. The state is one of the top five ethanol-producing states in the United States.
Another important sector in the state’s economy is tourism. Many travel to view the attractions of South Dakota, particularly those of the Black Hills region such as historic Deadwood, Mt. Rushmore, and the nearby state and national parks. One of the largest tourist events in South Dakota is the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The three-day event drew over 450,000 attendants in 2006, significant considering South Dakota has a population of only 750,000. In 2006, tourism provided an estimated 33,000 jobs in South Dakota and contributed over two billion US$ to the economy of the state.
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