Montana's unemployment rate continued its decline from the height of the pandemic, hitting 4.9% in October. Missoula's unemployment rate also fell to 4.1%, though it has 411 fewer jobs than at the same time last year.

Gov. Steve Bullock attributed the falling rate to strong job growth in the prior month. In September, the state's unemployment rate was 5.4%.

“As Montana’s economy continues to recover, the health of the economy depends on our ability to reduce the spread of the virus,” said Bullock.“Montanans must take seriously public health measures in order to curb the spread of the virus, and to keep our businesses and schools open and workforce on the job.”

Montana’s unemployment growth remains lower than the national rate of 6.9% for October, and well below where it was earlier in the pandemic.

In April it hit 11.3% before falling to 9% in May. As businesses began to reopen in June, the unemployment rate fell to 7% and has been decreasing ever since.

Still, it remains higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Ravalli County reported a 4.2% unemployment rate in the last report, with 629 fewer jobs than this time last year. Lake County reported a rate of 4.5% and Granite County 4.4%.

According to the state, total employment, including payroll, agricultural and self-employed workers, gained 3,700 jobs from September to October. Total employment has regained approximately 51,500 jobs since April.