Governor Steve Bullock today announced Montana’s unemployment rate continued its downward movement in February, declining 0.1 percentage point to 3.8%. The U.S. unemployment rate also declined by 0.1 percentage points to 4.7% in February.
“Montana’s economy is off to a hot start in 2017, with thousands of new jobs added just last month,” said Governor Bullock. “More Montanans are at work than ever before in our state’s history and Montana businesses are creating good-paying jobs being filled by our friends, families, and neighbors.”
Payroll employment in Montana increased by 3,000 jobs over the month, with the private sector adding 2,800 jobs. The construction, retail trade, and leisure activities industries also posted sizeable job gains.
Benchmark data for Montana’s counties, reservations, and sub-state areas is now available. Every year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics re-estimates employment and unemployment levels over the past year to improve the accuracy of the statistics. The revised estimates indicate the Southwest Region of Montana (including Bozeman, Butte, and Helena) had the fastest growth in 2016, adding roughly 3,900 jobs over the year for 2.7% growth. Northwest Montana (including Kalispell and Missoula) added roughly 3,300, posting strong growth of 2.3%. The central regions of the state had modest gains over the year, with Eastern Montana experiencing job losses over the year. The rate of job loss in Eastern Montana appears to be slowing in recent months.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1% in February, a welcomed slowdown after a sharp increase in gasoline prices last month. Gasoline prices have moderated in February, declining by 3%. The index for all items less food and energy, also called core inflation, rose 0.2% in February.