The major assets for Rapid City's economy are government, tourism, agriculture, healthcare, professional services, and the Ellsworth Air Force Base. State, local and the federal government are major parts of the economy. Tourism is a significant factor for the city due to being close to five popular national park areas. Black Hills Gold, popular with tourists is manufactured in Rapid City. Ellsworth Air Force Base is the state's largest employer.
Rapid City is the region's trading hub for farm/ranch items. Cattle and sheep are major factors in the agricultural sector. Farming related service industries also add to the economy. In addition, mining of sand and gravel and the material for lime and cement are important for the economy.
Computer parts, printing, Native American crafts, farm and ranch equipment manufacturers and cement production, are components of the economy. Rapid City is also the headquarters for insurance companies and includes financial services and investment companies such as Citi Bank, Waddell and Reed, WaMU and Northwestern Mutual.
The Rapid City Regional Hospital Healthcare System is a major employer. Employment is also provided by several large construction firms, steel fabrication companies, trucking companies and rock quarries. Employment is provided by firms that produce wood products and steel products.
Approval has been given for a Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory which will be utilized for the areas of scientific research, technology and medicine.
The leading employers in the Rapid City region are shown below:
- Ellsworth Air Force Base
- Rapid City Regional Hospital
- Rapid City School District
- Federal Government
- City of Rapid City
- State of South Dakota
- Walmart/Sams Club
- Black Hills Corporation
- Scull Construction Service, Inc
- Titan Machinery
Rapid City's major nonagricultural employment providing segments:
- Trade, transportation and utilities
- Educational services
- Leisure and hospitality
- Professional and business services
- Financial activities
Facts about Rapid City, South Dakota: Estimated median household income in 2007: $42,000. Cost of living index in 2008: 84.5 (national average: 100). Adult population that earned a bachelor's degree: 27%.
In Rapid City, companies are provided assistance from associations such as:
- Rapid City Chamber of Commerce
- Black Hills Business Development Center Economic Development
- Rapid City Economic Development Partnership
- South Dakota Governor's Office of Economic Development
- South Dakota Small Business Development Center - USD
Those interested in staying up-to-date with Rapid City business and industry activities may want to read the Rapid City Journal.