Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) Montana's rate of unemployment ended November at 3% while the state's total labor force reached a new record, the governor's office said Tuesday.

Gov. Greg Gianforte in a statement said the state added nearly 580 jobs in November with more than 563,000 Montanans working. Both are new highs, according to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate fell to 3.7%.

“More Montanans are working now than ever before, and the size of our labor force continues to set new records,” Gianforte said. “These positive trends continue for hardworking Montanans and employers alike.”

Since the beginning of 2021, more than 41,000 jobs have been created in Montana. The rate of unemployment ranged from a low of 1.4% in Fallon County to a high of 5.8% in Mineral County.

Among the state's largest counties, Missoula and Ravalli counties reported a 3% unemployment rate while Flathead County was at 3.8%. Missoula County has added more than 1,230 new jobs in 2023, second only to Gallatin County, which added more than 4,000 new jobs and reported an unemployment rate of 2.4%.

“As Montana’s labor force continues to grow, there are encouraging signs our worker shortage continues to abate,” said Sarah Swanson, state director of Labor and Industry. “Steady growth in both employment and our labor force show Montana’s job market is healthy and robust as we prepare to enter 2024.”