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Montana Reaches Record High of Employed Workers, Unemployment Rate Falls to 14-Year Low

Governor Greg Gianforte today announced the number of employed workers in Montana hit an all-time high in September and the unemployment rate fell to 3.3%, a low not seen since June 2007.

“Montana is in the midst of a historic economic recovery. We’ve recovered all jobs lost since the start of the pandemic, and more Montanans are working now than in our state’s history,” Gov. Gianforte said. “As we lead the Montana comeback, we’ll continue making Montana more competitive with lower taxes and less red tape, so folks throughout our state can prosper and have access to greater opportunities.”

Montana’s total employment, which includes payroll, agricultural, and self-employed workers, grew to 523,116 in September, the highest level on record for the state. Montana has recovered all the jobs lost since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Montana’s unemployment rate fell to 3.3%, a low last seen in June 2007. The state’s unemployment rate in September is down from 3.5% in August, down from 5.2% from a year earlier, and down from 11.2% in April 2020.

The number of unemployed workers fell to 18,116, the lowest number of job seekers without work since July 2007.

On top of posting record employment growth, the state’s labor force grew by an additional 554 workers to a total of 541,232. More than 13,000 workers have returned to Montana’s labor force since May 2020, and 99.8% of Montana’s labor force has recovered to its pre-pandemic level.

Payroll job levels stayed relatively stable over the month, declining by 200 jobs (well within the margin of error). Over the last three months ending in September, private payroll employment has increased by 1,100 payroll jobs, while government jobs have declined.

The unemployment rate for the U.S. dropped to 4.8%.

The rate of inflation remains elevated, growing 5.4% in the last twelve months with energy prices up nearly 25% and food prices up 4.6%. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 0.4% over the month ending September. Price increases occurred mostly in food and energy. The index for all items less food and energy, referred to as core inflation, increased 0.2% in September.


The unemployment rate and ranking for each of Montana’s seven reservations is provided below. Reservation unemployment rates and employment levels are not seasonally adjusted and should be compared to the unadjusted statewide unemployment rate of 1.9%. Reservation areas overlap with county areas, meaning that unemployed individuals living on a reservation will be included in both the reservation and county totals.

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