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State Unemployment Rate Remains At 3.3 Percent

In January, Montana’s labor force increased to an all-time high, while the state’s total employment continued to grow, according to data compiled by Department of Labor and Industry and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Montana’s unemployment rate held steady in January at 3.3 percent. The unemployment rate for the U.S. was also unchanged at 3.7 percent.

Montana’s labor force reached a record high in January after adding over 10,000 people in 2023, helping to alleviate labor shortages throughout the state.

Roosevelt County ranks 38th in the state with unemployment at 4.5 percent. Valley County is tied for 18th at 3.5 percent. Richland County is 15th at 3.3 percent.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment are Fallon at 1.9 percent, Carter at 2, Daniels at 2.2, McCone at 2.3 and Liberty at 2.4.

The counties with the highest unemployment are Mineral at 8.1, Lincoln at 8, Sanders at 7.2, Granite at 7.2 and Glacier at 6.4.

Total employment, which includes payroll, agricultural and self-employed workers, increased in January, while the labor force added 400 workers. Payroll jobs increased by 300 in January. Construction and health care employment grew over the month, while employment declined in leisure and hospitality.

Revised labor market estimates reflecting updated population controls and improved underlying data were also released. These revisions, developed in a process called benchmarking, are released every year in March to improve the quality and accuracy of the estimates. Newly revised estimates show both Montana’s unemployment rate hit a record low of 2.5 percent for the first quarter of 2023 and the state has added more than 36,000 jobs since January 2021.

In January, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers rose 0.3 percent over-the-month. The index for all items minus food and energy, or core inflation, rose 0.4 percent in January. Increases in the shelter index comprised over two-thirds of the monthly increase. In contrast, the energy index fell 0.9 percent over the month due in large part to the decline in the gasoline index. The 12-month change in the allitems index was 3.1 percent.

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