December 2016 Economic Situation Report
MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today announced Montana’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.0 percent over the month of December after dropping by 0.3 percentage points in November. The national unemployment rate increased slightly by 0.1 percentage points to 4.7 percent.
“Montana continues to outperform much of the nation, holding steady at near-historic low levels of unemployment for over a year,” said Governor Bullock. “As we continue to build on our economic strength and create a business climate that attracts, retains, and grows businesses, we’re making it easier for employers all across Montana to create more good-paying jobs.”
Montana’s economy added over 4,000 payroll jobs in the 4th quarter of 2016 from the prior quarter, with gains in construction, manufacturing, and leisure activities industries. Total employment estimates, which include the self-employed and agricultural employment in addition to payroll employment, indicated an over-the-month gain of roughly 500 jobs, with 4th quarter growth of 2,400 jobs over the prior quarter.
“Montanans are starting 2017 with a strong economy that is anticipated to grow in the upcoming year,” said Montana Labor & Industry Commissioner Pam Bucy. “As a result of a strengthening economy and recovering natural resources prices, we expect to see increased growth in rural communities, more Montanans earning higher wages, and more opportunities to fill jobs in high-skilled areas.”
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased in December by 0.3 percent, led by price increases for gasoline and housing. Over the last twelve months, the CPI-U rose 2.1 percent before seasonal adjustment. Core inflation, measured by the all items less food and energy index, rose 0.2 percent over the month.
** Statewide 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 0.5 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 and Industry’s Research and Analysis Bureau at 1-800-541-3904.
During the month of February, the labor market statistics from prior years will be re-estimated with additional data and recalibrated models in a process referred to as “benchmarking.” This process increases the accuracy of past and future statistics. However, the process also delays the release of January labor market statistics. The next Labor Situation Report for the month of January 2017 will be released on Monday, March 13th, 2017.