Montana continued to add back jobs in July and the unemployment rate fell another 0.1%, combining for what state and federal leaders described as a strong showing at the peak of the summer season.
The state’s unemployment rate in July closed at 3.6%, well below the national figure of 5.4% for the month. The labor force also had strong growth over the month, according to Gov. Greg Gianforte.
“Montana continues to attract workers back into our labor force, helping to alleviate pressure on employers who are looking to hire,” Gianforte said in a statement. “This report is good news for Montana businesses in the midst of the summer travel season and good news for workers who are enjoying higher wages as our economy makes a comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Montana’s total employment grew by more than 2,100 in July and included strong growth in the labor force, which added nearly 2,000 workers. Payroll jobs also increased by 3,300 over the month while accommodation and food services added 2,900 jobs.
The national economy also added more than 940,000 jobs in July, according the U.S. Department of Labor. The strong figures, both in Montana and nationally, suggest the American Rescue Plan was working as expected, Sen. Jon Tester said.
“The jobs report is more proof that the targeted relief provided by the American Rescue Plan continues to create jobs and reopen our economy across the country,” Tester said. “But we can’t take our eye off the ball, which is why it’s critical that we get my bipartisan infrastructure package across the finish line so we can sustain this economic recovery and make sure we maintain our competitive edge over China for generations to come.”
While the labor force made gains, however, inflation continued to creep in the economic shadows, growing another 0.5% in July. However, the 12-month increase of 5.4% is similar to the 12-month increase reported last month, signaling what Gianforte described as “a moderation in inflationary pressure.”
“Prices of used cars and trucks and energy commodities remain high compared to 12 months prior,” the Governor’s Office said. “The index for all items less food and energy, referred to as core inflation, increased 0.3% in July, with the 12-month increase lowering to 4.3% from 4.5% last month.”
Sen. Steve Daines also urged President Biden to renominate Jerome Powell for another term as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve to promote economic stability and further the economic recovery.
“I believe doing so would send a strong signal to households, businesses, and consumers that the head of the Federal Reserve continues to enjoy broad bipartisan support, and will act as necessary to achieve its dual mandate of price stability and maximum employment,” Daines said. “In contrast, changing the top leadership at this sensitive time could foster uncertainty across financial system and undermine our economic recovery.”