Governor Bullock Announces Montana’s Unemployment Rate Declines to 9.0% in May

Governor Steve Bullock today announced Montana’s unemployment rate improved considerably in May due to strong job growth dropping 2.9 percentage points to 9.0%. In April, the Montana unemployment rate was at 11.9%. The Montana unemployment rate remained below the national rate of 13.3% in May. 

“Due to our early action to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we’ve been able to continue with the phased reopening of our state, our economy is recovering, and thousands of Montanans have returned to work,” said Governor Bullock. “As we keep working to fight the spread of the virus, we will keep working every single day to stimulate our economy and support Montana families and businesses through this time.”

Montana posted the third fastest payroll employment growth among states in May with 4% over the month growth, and had the 7th lowest unemployment rate in the country. Private payroll employment also posted a record-breaking gain of 19,300 jobs over the month, with improvement across most private industries. Job losses in the local government sector kept overall payroll employment gains to 17,000 jobs. Total employment (including both payroll jobs and the self-employed) added 16,780 jobs over the month – the most jobs added in any single month since the data series began in 1976. Despite these large job gains, Montana’s May employment estimate remains roughly 44,000 jobs below its pre-pandemic peak.

Since this employment data was captured in May, unemployment claims continue to drop, suggesting future employment data will continue to improve. Since the peak of unemployment claims during the week of April 18, nearly 29,000 Montanans have gone back to work to date and are no longer making a claim. In addition, approximately 15,000 Montanans have gone back to work part time.

Prices once again declined in May, falling 0.1%, marking three months of decline in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). Gasoline prices continued to fall, with prices for food and shelter increasing. The index for all items less food and energy, also called core inflation, fell by 0.1%  

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** Unemployment figures are seasonally-adjusted.  Seasonally-adjusted numbers remove the effects of events that follow a more or less regular month-to-month pattern each year. These adjustments make non-seasonal patterns easier to identify. The margin of error for the unemployment rate is plus or minus 1.0 percentage points at the 90 percent confidence level. All questions relating to the calculation of unemployment rates should be directed to the Montana Department of Labor & Industry’s Research and Analysis Bureau at 406-444-4100.

The next Labor Situation Report for the month of June will be released on Friday, July 17.

 **** INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET ****

Visit our website at www.lmi.mt.gov for additional information and analysis, including industry employment levels, background on the unemployment rate, and wage rates by occupation. Visit www.lmi.mt.gov/home/job-tracking for Montana unemployment claims and economic data for the current recession.

****** COUNTY UNEMPLOYMENT RATES ******

The unemployment rate and ranking for each of Montana’s 56 counties is provided below for your convenience.  County unemployment rates and employment levels are not seasonally adjusted and should be compared to the unadjusted statewide unemployment rate of 8.5%.   

 

Unemployment Rate

Employment

Rank

County

Current Unemployment Rate

Change over Year

Current Employment

Job Change from Last Year

1

Liberty

2.4

0.4

883

-26

2

Carter

2.8

-0.3

584

-19

3

Garfield

3.2

1.7

666

-53

4

McCone

3.5

2

858

-65

5

Daniels

3.6

2.2

813

-63

6

Powder River

3.8

2.2

876

-51

7

Petroleum

3.9

1.7

249

-15

8

Treasure

4.6

2.5

310

-14

9

Blaine

4.7

2.1

2,281

-159

9

Chouteau

4.7

2.5

2,246

-149

9

Sweet Grass

4.7

2.2

1,633

-101

12

Fallon

5.0

3.8

1,529

-156

13

Beaverhead

5.1

2.7

4,560

-375

13

Teton

5.1

2.6

2,492

-191

15

Valley

5.2

3

3,695

-312

16

Judith Basin

5.4

3.2

949

47

17

Fergus

5.7

3.6

5,288

-646

18

Hill

6.0

3.2

6,709

-724

18

Phillips

6.0

3.5

1,682

-113

20

Wibaux

6.2

3.8

408

-40

21

Sheridan

6.3

4.5

1,575

-132

22

Pondera

6.4

3.2

2,380

-230

23

Custer

6.5

4.4

5,445

-592

24

Meagher

6.6

3.6

812

-57

24

Powell

6.6

3.1

2,579

-291

24

Stillwater

6.6

4

4,878

-139

27

Deer Lodge

6.7

4.1

4,499

-409

28

Golden Valley

6.8

2.9

330

-19

29

Lewis and Clark

6.9

4.6

31,925

-3,045

30

Jefferson

7.1

4.7

5,062

-468

30

Toole

7.1

5

1,881

-187

32

Madison

7.4

4.8

4,003

-327

32

Prairie

7.4

4.2

423

-34

32

Ravalli

7.4

4.2

18,117

-1,562

35

Broadwater

7.6

4

2,282

-198

36

Musselshell

7.7

4.9

1,991

-181

36

Roosevelt

7.7

4.2

3,908

-487

36

Yellowstone

7.7

5.1

73,843

-5,829

39

Rosebud

7.9

3.9

3,463

-206

40

Cascade

8.0

5.2

34,938

-2,072

40

Lake

8.0

4.6

11,888

-996

42

Dawson

8.2

6.2

4,052

-455

43

Carbon

8.7

5.9

4,941

-361

44

Gallatin

8.9

6.7

61,730

-4,329

45

Silver Bow

9.0

6

14,963

-1,612

46

Big Horn

9.3

2.7

4,077

-430

46

Missoula

9.3

6.7

58,042

-4,505

48

Richland

9.5

7.2

5,044

-645

49

Glacier

9.8

3.7

4,833

-425

50

Wheatland

9.9

7.2

710

-46

51

Sanders

10.0

5.5

4,288

-371

52

Granite

11.0

6.2

1,437

-125

53

Flathead

11.9

8

42,303

-3,429

54

Park

12.6

9.7

8,065

-612

55

Lincoln

12.7

7.1

6,905

-738

55

Mineral

12.7

8.6

1,553

-174


****** RESERVATION UNEMPLOYMENT RATES ******

The unemployment rate and ranking for each of Montana’s seven reservations is provided below.  Reservation unemployment rates and employment levels are not seasonally adjusted and should be compared to the unadjusted statewide unemployment rate of 8.5%. Reservation areas overlap with county areas, meaning that unemployed individuals living on a reservation will be included in both the reservation and county totals.

 

 

Unemployment Rate

Employment

Rank

County

Current Unemployment Rate

Change over Year

Current Employment

Job Change from Last Year

1

Flathead

8.5

4.9

11,654

-975

2

Fort Peck 

9.6

5.3

3,524

-421

3

Fort Belknap

11.3

5.4

747

-52

4

Blackfeet 

13.7

5.1

3,416

-302

5

Crow

13.9

4.0

2,086

-214

6

Rocky Boy's

17.1

8.5

974

-93

7

Northern Cheyenne 

18.1

7.9

1,184

-89

 

 

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