Unemployment in Montana Rises

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Montana’s unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent in August, up from 4 percent in July, the state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday.

Nationally, unemployment in August was 6.1 percent, compared to 5.7 percent the previous month.

“Although Montana is still faring better than the rest of the country, this month’s (August’s) figures show that, like surrounding states, Montana’s economy is still impacted by the national economic troubles,” said Keith Kelly, the state labor commissioner. “We aren’t immune to the trickle-down effect the mortgage crisis is having on the rest of the country.”

The state saw growth in non-farm payroll jobs last month, but the number of Montanans working decreased. The decline includes loss of self-employment in the construction and timber industries, the Department of Labor and Industry said.

As measured by the federal Consumer Price Index, the cost of living fell by 0.1 percent in August, a decrease attributed to a decline in energy prices.

Among Montana’s neighboring states, Idaho had the highest August unemployment, at 4.6 percent. The rates were 3.9 percent in Wyoming; 3.6 percent in North Dakota; and 3.3 percent in South Dakota.