Montana Unemployment

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Montana Unemployment Stats and News

Montana Unemployment Stats

Current and Historical Montana Stats Analysis

Montana’s unemployment rate increased slightly by one-tenth of a percent for the month of August to 4.3 percent.  The national unemployment rate stayed at 4.9 percent, at the same level it has been since June.

“As mentioned in this year’s Labor Day Report, Montana’s economy experienced job growth through the beginning of 2016,” said Montana Labor and Industry Commissioner Pam Bucy. “Employment data suggests that employment growth has moderated from last year’s pace due to weakness in the energy sector, but Montana’s unemployment rate remains low.”

The Montana Department of Labor and Industry released the 2016 Labor Day Report on September 6, which detailed Montana’s positive economic record for the last year, with strong GDP growth and the highest recorded real wage growth in 2015. Preliminary estimates from 2016 suggest employment growth has moderated in 2016, slowing from the rapid pace in 2015.  Employment growth in 2015 was twice the historic average pace.

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While Montana’s unemployment stats show that the unemployment rate is better on average, the rate increased slightly in August 2016. Montana Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy blames August's higher rate on weakness in the energy sector. The lowest unemployment rate in August was in McCone County at 1.9 percent, while Glacier County had the highest at 9 percent.

Meanwhile, Montana's workforce growth in 2015 was twice the historical average, with a Department of Labor report detailing a positive economic record for the last year, noting strong GDP growth and the highest recorded "real-wage" growth in 2015.

In other employment news, the minimum wage in Montana is scheduled to go up by $0.09 in January 2017. Legislators hope that by raising the minimum wage to $8.15 per hour, jobs income can keep pace with inflation.

“By tying our minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U), we are making sure that Montana families are keeping pace with inflation,” said Bucy. “Through an increased minimum wage, our workforce will be able to have more purchase power in their local communities.”

In 2015, the accommodations and food industry experienced the largest number of workers earning minimum wage, followed by the retail trade sector. Large numbers of minimum wage workers are also common to occupations like combined food and preparation workers, waiters and waitresses, cashiers, bartenders, and retail salespersons.

“Minimum wage workers are a valuable and important segment of our workforce,” said Bucy. “Over half of all workers earning minimum wage are over the age of 25, and over 60 percent of our state’s minimum wage earners are women.”