Montana unemployment rate steady at 3.9 percent; Missoula County at 3.4

Gov. Steve Bullock on Friday said Montana’s unemployment rate held steady at 3.9 percent last month while the U.S. unemployment rate declined 0.1 points to 4.3 percent after increasing slightly in July.

The unemployment rate in Missoula County decreased 0.4 points to 3.4 percent while the unemployment rate in Ravalli County dropped slightly to 4.2 percent.

“Montana is experiencing steady economic growth, benefiting businesses and workers alike,” Bullock said in Friday’s statement. “More Montanans are at work than ever before in our state’s history, wages are increasing, and manufacturing is growing at twice the national average.”

Statewide, Bullock said total employment increased by 5,200 jobs in July on an unadjusted basis. That level of hiring is expected during July, leaving the seasonally adjusted total employment level roughly even from last month.

Total employment includes the self-employed, agricultural workers and payroll employment.

Bullock said estimates from payroll employment indicate a loss of 700 jobs in July, but an increase of 5,200 jobs since July 2016. The payroll job losses were primarily in the healthcare industry, where employment growth may have been affected by uncertainty in health care policies at the federal level, he said.

“We’re growing some of the best wheat in the world, producing cutting-edge optics technologies, and making the best waders, fly-rods, and drift boats money can buy,” Bullock said.

Friday’s employment figures come as Pam Bucy, commissioner of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, steps down from the post she has held since 2013. To date, no replacement has been named.

Bucy stepping down as head of state Labor and Industry