Montana’s Unemployment Rate Reaches Record Low

Governor Greg Gianforte today announced Montana’s unemployment rate dropped to an all-time low of 2.7% in January 2022, down 0.2% from December’s adjusted rate. Montana’s unemployment rate is the fifth lowest in the nation.



“With lower taxes and responsible, responsive government, Montana is leading an economic comeback, with more Montanans working than ever before and our unemployment rate at its lowest level ever,” Gov. Gianforte said. “Committed to creating greater opportunities in every corner of our state, we’ll continue to invest in developing our workforce and making Montana an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”


Montana’s unemployment rate of 2.7% for January is well below the unemployment rate for the U.S. of 4.0% in January.


The State of Montana has not only recovered all jobs lost since the start of the pandemic, but also grown beyond that level, with 539,758 Montanans employed in January 2022 compared to 525,909 in March 2020.


Since Governor Gianforte was elected, more than 20,000 Montana jobs have been created.



Montana’s total employment, which includes payroll, agricultural, and self-employed workers, hit another record high in January, rising 2,082 with roughly 1,100 people entering the labor force and 960 fewer people unemployed.


Montana’s labor force was at its highest recorded level in January at 554,986.


On March 2, 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revised jobs data going back as far as January 2017.


Inflation continues to soar across the country. February’s 7.9% inflation rate was the sharpest spike since 1982.


The rate of inflation, with The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), increased by 0.6% in January and 0.8% in February. The price increases over the last month were driven by a 6.6% increase in gasoline prices. The index for all items minus food and energy, also called core inflation, increased by 0.6% in January and 0.5% in February, with an 6.4% increase in the year ending in February.



Revised labor market estimates reflecting updated population controls for 2021 were also released today. The revisions are completed each year in March to improve the quality and accuracy of the estimates in a process called benchmarking. Newly revised estimates indicate Montana’s unemployment rate hit a low of 2.9% in December (compared to the previously estimated 2.5%), with the changes primarily due to higher than expected population growth. Labor force and employment estimates both were increased during the benchmarking process, setting new record highs of nearly 550,000 Montanans in the workforce and 531,000 employed in 2021 (annual averages). Employment grew by 3.8% in 2021, roughly double the pace prior to the pandemic.




** 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.

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