State Unemployment Rises in March

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – The Labor Department says recent job losses are behind an increase in the state’s unemployment rate.

The Montana unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in March, up from 3.3 percent in February.

The national unemployment rate rose from 4.8 percent to 5.1 percent.

Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly says job losses announced in the wood industry from plant closings are negatively affecting the Montana rate.

The good news is that the impact in Montana from problems in the housing and credit sectors seems limited. He says the state is adding jobs in construction, energy, and other industries.

Montana’s unemployment rate is now a little higher than its neighbors.

North Dakota’s rate is 3.1 percent, South Dakota is at 2.5 percent and Wyoming rose to 3.1 percent.