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Duthie, Steve

January 2017 Economic Situation Report

Governor Bullock Announces Montana Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.9%

Governor Bullock Announces Montana Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.9%

2,700 jobs added to state’s economy at the beginning of 2017

MONTANA – Montana Governor Steve Bullock today announced Montana’s unemployment rate dropped 0.1 percentage points in January, down to 3.9%. The U.S. unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 4.8% in January.

“Our economy is strong and our unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in nearly a decade,” said Governor Bullock. “I am hopeful the legislature will support this job growth by investing in our workers, education, and infrastructure.”

“Montana’s economy is off to a hot start in 2017, adding 2,700 jobs,” said Labor & Industry Commissioner Pam Bucy. “With the unemployment rate at this level, there are opportunities for workers to find jobs across a broad spectrum of industries.”

Payroll employment in Montana increased by 2,700 jobs over the month, with private jobs gaining by 3,100 jobs, but public sector jobs declining by 400. Total employment levels, which include self-employed and agricultural workers, indicated a statistically insignificant decline of 536 jobs over the month. Since January of last year, Montana has added over 4,500 jobs.

 

Every year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics re-estimates employment and unemployment levels over the past year to improve the accuracy of the statistics. The newly revised estimates for 2016 are now available for the nation and for Montana, with the county level revisions being issued later this year. The revised estimates indicate employment growth of roughly 6,500 jobs in 2017 compared to 2016, or 1.3%. The 2016 growth rate was faster than the long-term average growth for Montana. The compounding annual rate of growth for total employment in Montana since 1980 is 1%.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.6% in January, the largest inflation increase since February 2013. Sharp increases in the price for gasoline is the primary cause for the increase. Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U has increased by 2.5%, which is temporarily above the 2% target set by the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve. The index for all items less food and energy, also called core inflation, rose 0.3% in January.

** 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 nonseasonal 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.

The next Labor Situation Report for the month of February 2017 will be released on Friday, March 24, 2017.

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