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Duthie, Steve

December 2018 Economic Situation Report

Governor Bullock Announces Montana’s Unemployment Rate Steady at 3.7%

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 18, 2019

CONTACTS:
Ronja Abel, Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9725
Marissa Perry, Press Secretary, Governor’s Office, (406) 444-4514
Erin Loranger, Public Information Officer, Department of Labor & Industry, 444-1674
Barbara Wagner, Chief Economist, Department of Labor & Industry, 444-5474

Governor Bullock Announces Montana’s Unemployment Rate Steady at 3.7%

MONTANA – Governor Bullock today announced that Montana’s unemployment rate remained at 3.7% for the month of December, holding steady while the national unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 3.9%. Montana added roughly 1,100 jobs over the month.

“Montana’s economy remains strong heading into a new year. But let us not forget that the hundreds of federal employees currently going without a paycheck due to the federal government shutdown will have impacts on our economy and unemployment in January,” said Governor Bullock. “Here in Montana we will keep working together to get things done while we weather this weight on our economy and on the people of Montana.”

Unemployment rates are calculated using the employment status of the worker for the week of the 12th each month. Therefore, workers furloughed due to the federal shutdown, which began on December 22nd, will be counted as unemployed in January.
Total employment, which includes payroll, agricultural, and self-employed workers, indicated a sizeable increase of 1,112 jobs in December. The unemployment rate remained steady due to a similar increase in the labor force of 1,255 people. Payroll employment indicated jobs gains of 300, with small changes across all industries. Workers furloughed due to the shutdown would have still been considered employed during December, keeping the number of unemployed workers fairly steady over the month.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) declined in December due to a sharp decrease in the gasoline index. Gasoline prices decreased by 7.5% over the month. The index for all items less food and energy, also called core inflation, increased 0.2% in December. 

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** 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 & Industry’s Research and Analysis Bureau at 406-444-4100.

Due to the annual process to benchmark and revise the prior year’s labor market estimates, the next Labor Situation Report for the month of January 2019 will be released on Monday, March 11, 2019, rather than the usual schedule of the third Friday following the month of employment.

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