Montana’s unemployment rate declined to 4.4% in December, down from 4.6% in November. Montana’s rate remains lower than the national rate of 6.7% in December.
“While we’re encouraged that Montana’s unemployment rate remains lower than the national rate, we have work to do to get our economy going again, get Montana open for business, and get Montanans back to work in good-paying jobs,” Governor Greg Gianforte said.
Payroll employment added 400 jobs over the last month, with job gains in construction, retail trade, and healthcare. Total employment, which includes payroll, agricultural, and self-employed workers, fell by 1,180 jobs in December, the first contraction since April. Total employment gains for the 4th quarter remained strong, adding roughly 4,800 jobs. The labor force contracted by 2,382 in December.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 0.4% in December, led by a large increase in gasoline prices. The index for all items less food and energy, referred to as core inflation, increased by 0.1%.
** Unemployment figures are seasonally-adjusted. Seasonally-adjusted numbers remove the effects of events that follow a more or less regular month-to-month pattern each year. These adjustments make non-seasonal patterns easier to identify. The margin of error for the unemployment rate is plus or minus 0.6 percentage points at the 90 percent confidence level. All questions relating to the calculation of unemployment rates should be directed to the Montana Department of Labor & Industry’s Research and Analysis Bureau at 406-444-4100.
Due to the annual benchmarking process, the next Labor Situation Report for the month of January will not be released until Monday, March 15. The Labor Situation Report for February will then be released on March 26. The normal data release schedule of the third Friday of the month will resume in April. The annual benchmarking process re-estimates and smooths the labor market data with updated population estimates and additional data, improving data accuracy.
**** INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET ****
Visit our website at www.lmi.mt.gov for additional information and analysis, including industry employment levels, background on the unemployment rate, and wage rates by occupation. Visit www.lmi.mt.gov/home/job-tracking for Montana unemployment claims and economic data on the current recession