Montana’s Unemployment Rate Up Slightly

By Beacon Staff

HELENA (AP) – Montana’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 2.3 percent in May and the state now shares the lowest unemployment rate in the nation with Idaho, the Department of Labor and Industry said Tuesday.

The national unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in May, while North Dakota and Wyoming had unemployment rates of 3.3 percent while South Dakota’s was 3.2 percent.

The state’s unemployment rate was 2 percent in March and 2.2 percent in April.

Montana employment grew by 200 jobs to 445,700 in May, the department said.

Occupational employment and wage statistics for Montana were also released, and nine of the top 10 highest paid jobs are in health care. Psychiatrists were paid $81.33 per hour, the highest median rate in the state. The only non-health care occupation to make the top 10 was air traffic controllers, who were paid a mean hourly wage of $44.38.

“By 2025 Montana is projected to be the fifth oldest state in the country with almost 25 percent of the population 65 years and older,” Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly said. “Coupled with life expectancy rising to 74 years for men and 80 years for women, Montana’s wages must remain competitive to fill present and projected health care jobs.”

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