Montana’s unemployment rate fell to a new record low in March to 2.3%, the fourth lowest rate in the nation. Montana’s labor force and total employment are at record highs. Inflation, however, has reached a 41-year high, undermining Montanans’ wage growth and threatening Montana job creation and economic growth.
“Because of Montanans’ hard work, we’re at our lowest unemployment rate ever, and more Montanans are working than ever before,” Governor Greg Gianforte said. “While Montana’s rapid economic growth has lowered our unemployment rate and driven wage growth, a well-skilled workforce has never been more important. We’ll keep working with Montana’s employers to bring new people into the workforce and make sure they get the training and skills they need to succeed, thrive, and prosper.”
Since Gov. Gianforte was elected, Montana’s unemployment rate has dropped from 4.2% to 2.3%. Four of the 5 months with the lowest unemployment rate in Montana history have been on Gov. Gianforte’s watch – March 2022, February 2022, January 2022, and November 2021.
The unemployment rate for the U.S. was at 3.6% for March.
Nearly 26,000 jobs have been created in Montana since Gov. Gianforte was elected in November 2020. Montana’s total employment is at its highest level ever recorded with 545,360 Montanans working. Montana’s total employment, which includes payroll, agricultural, and self-employed workers, continued to experience rapid growth, posting gains of 3,267 in March.
Montana’s labor force is also at its highest level ever recorded at 558,466. In March, roughly 2,105 new workers entered Montana’s labor force.
Also in March, 1,162 fewer Montanans were unemployed than in February, and since Gov. Gianforte was elected, the number of unemployed Montanans has fallen by more than 42 percent, from 21,764 to 13,106.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported inflation has increased 8.5 percent in the last 12 months, marking the highest annual increase since 1981.
“At a 41-year high, inflation is robbing Montanans of their hard-earned money and erasing gains they’re getting with their take-home pay,” Gov. Gianforte said. “It’s far past time for the Biden administration to stop passing the buck and get inflation under control.”
According to BLS, an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor, over the past 12 months,
Grocery prices are up 10.0%
Meats, including beef, pork, and chicken, up 14.8%
Eggs, up 11.2%
Milk, up 13.3%
Coffee, up 11.2%
Fresh fruits, up 10.1%
Baby food, up 10.8%
Gas prices are up 48.0%
Used car and truck prices are up 35.3%
Energy service prices, including electricity and piped gas service, are up 13.5%
Fuel oil prices are up 70.1%
Rent prices are up 4.4%
Clothing prices are up 6.8%
Airfare prices are up 23.6%
** 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.