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Montana unemployment rate drops to 3.7%; Missoula at 3.8%, Ravalli 3.7%

A local fast food restaurant has increased its wages to find new workers.

Montana’s unemployment rate grew tighter in April, dropping from 3.8% in March to 3.7% – well below the national rate of 6.1%.

Gov. Greg Gianforte on Friday said the April figures match pre-pandemic rates of 3.7% recorded in February of last year. The pandemic hit in March, sending thousands of workers to the unemployment lines.

Gianforte said the state’s continued economic recovery will depend on getting workers back to work and enabling businesses to fill open jobs while meeting customer demands.

“By ending the pandemic-related federal unemployment bonus that discourages work and by launching a return-to-work bonus, more Montanans will reenter the workforce, and Montana’s economy will continue to rebound,” Gianforte said.

While the rate of unemployed workers continues to fall, more than 9,400 fewer Montanans are currently in the labor force when compared to last February.

Still, the number of self-employed workers in the state grew by nearly 1,800 in April. Gianforte said employment gains are being fueled by workers returning to the labor force.

“The specter of inflation is concerning,” Gianforte said. “It’s time for the federal government to turn off the spigot of spending trillions of dollars that drive up our national debt, a shameful burden our kids and grandkids will inherit.”

The latest economic figures suggest that the Consumer Price Index increased 0.8% over the month in April, capping a 12-month gain of 4.2%. That’s the largest 12-month increase since September 2008, according to the governor’s office.

Prices of used cars and trucks rose 10% in April and accounted for a third of the increase.

The unemployment rate in Missoula County stood at 3.8% in April while Ravalli County was at 3.7%. Around the region, Flathead County stood at 4.7%, Mineral County at 5.8%, Granite County at 5.7%, and Sanders County at 5.3%.

The highest unemployment rate in the state remains Big Horn County at 9% while McCone County is the lowest at 1.7%.