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Dubois, Christopher

January 2018 Economic Situation Report

Governor Bullock Announces Montana’s Unemployment Rate at 4.1%

Monday, March 12, 2018
Ronja Abel, Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9725
Jake Troyer, Communications Director, Department of Labor & Industry, 444-1674
Barbara Wagner, Chief Economist, Department of Labor & Industry, 444-5474

Governor Bullock Announces Montana’s Unemployment Rate at 4.1%

MONTANA – Montana’s unemployment rate remained level at 4.1% for the month of January. The U.S. unemployment rate also remained at 4.1%.

"Montana’s economy remains strong and we're working directly with businesses large and small to get more folks into good paying jobs," said Governor Bullock. "Communities continue to attract new and innovative business to Montana because of our friendly business climate and unparalleled quality of life, all while schools are getting students ready to take on the jobs of today and the future."

Both payroll and total employment levels remained steady over the last month, with small gains in construction offset by small losses in other industries. In addition, the Department of Labor & Industry has released revised and updated statewide unemployment and employment growth numbers for the previous five years. Unemployment rate and employment estimates are revised each year in February in a process called benchmarking, which typically results in more accurate estimates and a smoother data series. Updated estimates suggest employment growth of 0.9% for 2017, or roughly 4,300 jobs. This employment growth rate is slightly slower than in previous years, but paired with continued output growth, simply reinforces that Montana businesses are struggling to find sufficient workers to support growth.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose by 0.5% in January, with broad-based price increases across all goods. Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U has increased by 2.1%, staying within the Federal Reserve’s target for rates. The index for all items less food and energy, also called core inflation, increased 0.3% in January, with a change of 1.8% over the last year. 

** 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 2018 will be released on Friday, March 23, 2018. State unemployment rate estimates are not released during the month of February due to the re-estimation and benchmarking process, which results in both January and February rates being issued in March.

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