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June 2016 Economic Situation Report

Montana’s Unemployment Rate Steady at 4.2 Percent in June

HELENA, MT – Montana’s unemployment rate remained steady for the month of June at 4.2 percent.  The national unemployment rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 4.9 percent.

“Montana continues to have low unemployment rate levels, suggesting job opportunities and wage growth for Montana workers and their families,” said Montana Department of Labor & Industry Commissioner Pam Bucy. “Our sustained strong economic growth has also made significant headway in decreasing unemployment rates for marginally-attached and involuntarily part-time workers, who are economically sensitive worker groups.  Montana’s economy is bringing prosperity to all Montanans, including caregivers, the disabled, and others who may face challenges finding full-time permanent employment.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes alternative unemployment rates for states on a quarterly basis to track workers not typically included in the official unemployment rate.  For the year ending in the first quarter of 2016, the unemployment rate for discouraged workers decreased to 4.5 percent from 5.7 percent two years ago.  The unemployment rate for marginally-attached workers has decreased from 6.5 percent to 5.1 percent during the same timeframe.  (Marginally-attached workers have looked for work in the last year, but have stopped looking for work, possibly because of a lack of suitable daycare, health concerns, or other employment barriers.)  The unemployment rate including part-time workers who would like full-time jobs posted the largest decrease over the last two years, down 2.6 percentage points to 9.0 percent.

 Both payroll and total employment job estimates suggested insignificant changes in employment and labor force levels in June.  The accommodations and food service industry posted strong employment gains of 1,000 workers over the month, while administrative support services also posted a large 1,000 job gain.  The administrative services industry includes temporary employment firms, which may also be related to seasonal hiring by tourism-related businesses.

 The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose by 0.2 percent in June, marking continued low inflation.  Food prices declined, but the energy index increased by 1.3 percent, led by an increase in gasoline prices.  Core inflation, measured by the all items less food and energy index, rose 0.2 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 0.5 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 1-800-541-3904.

 
The next Labor Situation Report for the month of July 2016 will be released on Friday, August 19. 

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