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July 2016 Economic Situation Report

Montana’s Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 4.2 Percent in July

HELENA, MT – Montana’s unemployment rate remained steady for the month of July at 4.2 percent.  The national unemployment rate stayed at 4.9 percent for the month of July as well.

Total employment remained above 501,000 in July, while payroll employment dropped by 0.2% over the month. Employment data for the first quarter of 2016 recently released suggests payroll employment has grown by 1.8% over the last twelve months. This growth has been driven by the accommodation and food services, healthcare, and retail trade industries, which have all added over 1,400 jobs in the last year, offsetting employment losses in the mining industry. Montana has added over 7,700 jobs for the year ending in the first quarter of 2016.

“Montana continues to have low unemployment levels and strong job growth,” said Montana Labor & Industry Commissioner Pam Bucy. “Much of the recent growth in Montana’s employment has stemmed from the more populated regions, and been driven by consumer-based industries.” 

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was unchanged in July. Over the last twelve months, the CPI-U rose 0.8 percent before seasonal adjustment. Increases in the price of transportation, shelter and medical care have been offset by decreases in energy prices. The energy index decreased over the month, led by a decrease of 4.7% in gasoline. Core inflation, measured by the all items less food and energy index, rose 0.1 percent over the month.

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** 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 nonseasonal patterns easier to identify. The margin of error for the unemployment rate is plus or minus 0.3 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 August 2016 will be released on Tuesday, September 20th

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