Montana’s streak of job growth continued in July as more workers returned
Montana added nearly 1,500 new workers to the labor force in July, continuing more than two years of consecutive job growth in the state.
Data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Montana Department of Labor & Industry suggests Montana added 1,470 workers in July while the state's total employment grew by 712 workers.
It marks the 27th consecutive month of job growth in the state and mirrors a national trend.
“With our focus on trades education and expanding opportunities for good-paying careers, more and more Montanans are getting back to work,” Gov. Greg Gianforte said in a statement Friday. “Montana’s record job growth is easing our workforce shortage and providing relief to employers who are hiring.”
The state's unemployment rate in July was 2.7%, slightly below the national rate of 3.5%. Inflation also fell to 8.5% in July, as did prices for gasoline and natural gas. But the state said food and shelter indexes rose.
According to the state, Montana’s labor force participation rate rose to 62.7% - a result of more Montana workers entering the workforce. Gianforte credited the growth to his policies while the Biden administration credited the national growth to its policies.
Economists and policymakers had expected hiring to slow in July due to recession worries, rising interest rates and high inflation. But the figures surpassed those expectations.
Even while inflation ticked down, the cost of goods and services still remain high. Between July 2021 and July 2022, gas prices increased by 44%, energy services 18.8%, grocery prices by 13.1%, baby food by 15%, airfare by 27.7%, and new vehicle prices by 10.4%.
Concerns over a recession still linger. The U.S. Department of Commerce last week reported the national economy contracted for the second consecutive quarter.