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Duthie, Steve

May 2017 Economic Situation Report

Montana’s Unemployment Rate at 3.9% in May

Montana’s Unemployment Rate at 3.9% in May

HELENA – Montana’s unemployment rate increased slightly in May, moving up 0.1 percentage points to 3.9%. The U.S. unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 4.3%. This convergence of the national and state rates is expected with the tightening labor market.

“Montana’s economy continues to be one of the nation’s strongest, providing opportunities for people in the labor market,”said Commissioner of the Montana Department of Labor & Industry Pam Bucy. “This is a benefit for workers looking to earn higher wages or improve their employment skills.”

Both the payroll employment estimates and the total employment estimates (which includes payroll workers, the self-employed, and agricultural workers) posted employment decreases from April to May of 600 jobs and 670 jobs respectively. The retail industry posted the highest number of job losses. However, overall payroll employment remains strong, with 7,400 more jobs than May 2016.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.1% in May. The main contributor to the decline was a decrease in the energy index. Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U has increased by 1.9%. The index for all items less food and energy, also called core inflation, posted a gain of 0.1% in May. 

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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 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 June 2017 will be released on Friday, July 21, 2017. 

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