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Montana’s Unemployment Rate At 2.9 Percent

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has announced the number of Montanans working and the size of the state’s workforce in September reached new all-time highs, according to data from the Montana Department of Labor and Industry and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job creation in the state also grew for the 29th consecutive month. “Despite national policies pushing our country into a recession and forcing higher and higher prices onto hardworking Montanans, we’re still creating jobs and growing our workforce in Montana,” Gianforte said. “Months of labor force growth is easing the strain on Montana employers. While Montana is creating jobs and growing our economy, the Biden administration must get its house in order, get inflation under control, and get our country and our economy back on the right track.”

Montana’s total employment hit a new record high in September, growing by nearly 200 jobs with 551,578 Montanans working.

The state’s labor force continued its record growth in September, adding 736 workers with nearly 568,000 Montanans in the state’s workforce.

As in August, total employment in Montana was slightly outpaced by labor force growth, leading to a 0.1 percent increase in the unemployment rate to 2.9 percent. The rate remains among record lows experienced in 2022, 2021, and 2007.

The counties with the lowest unemployment are Fallon at 1.4 percent, Gallatin at 1.7 percent, McCone at 1.8 percent, Sheridan at 1.8 percent and Sweet Grass at 1.8 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment are Glacier at 5.4 percent, Big Horn at 4.6 percent, Mineral at 3.8 percent, Lincoln at 3.7 percent and Sanders at 3.3 percent.

Roosevelt County ranks 48th at 3 percent. Valley County is 10th at 2 percent.

Richland is 41st at 2.7 percent.

Inflation and rising prices continue to weigh heavily on Montanans, as the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers rose 0.4 percent over-the-month and the 12-month change in the CPI-U was 8.2 percent. The shelter, food, and medical care indexes were the largest contributors to the increase. The index for all items minus food and energy, also called core inflation, increased 0.6 percent in September.

According to BLS, between September 2021 and September 2022, gas prices increased nationally by 18.2 percent, energy services prices by 19.8 percent, grocery prices by 13.0 percent, baby food prices by 11.8 percent, infants’ and toddlers’ apparel prices by 6.7 percent, airfare prices by 42.9 percent and new vehicle prices by 9.4 percent.

As winter approaches, fuel oil prices are up 58.1 percent, electricity prices up 15.5 percent, utility gas service prices up 33.1 percent, and propane, kerosene, and firewood prices up 12.8 percent from a year ago.

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