Flathead Unemployment Hits Double Digits

By Beacon Staff

Flathead County’s unemployment rate rose to 11.3 percent in January, up from 8.7 percent in December, according to the state Department of Labor.

The rise to double digits makes Flathead’s unemployment the fourth highest rate of Montana’s counties and, in several cases, almost three times the unemployment rates of its eastern Montana counterparts. It was the sixth straight month that Flathead County’s unemployment rate increased.

Northwest Montana as a whole fared poorly, with Mineral, Sanders, Lake, Lincoln and Glacier counties all reporting double-digit unemployment rates – the only counties in the state, along with Flathead, to do so. Lake County was at 10 percent; Glacier County 10.3 percent; Mineral County 12.2 percent; Lincoln County 15.6 percent; and Sanders County hit a state-high 17.7 percent.

While the national recession continues to drive up unemployment statewide, Montana is still well below January’s national average of 7.6 percent.

Montana’s January unemployment rate increased to 5.6 percent. December’s state rate was revised to 5 percent, after being announced at 5.4 percent in late January. It’s the first time since January 2000 that the state’s unemployment rate has been above 5 percent.

Highest Unemployment Rates in Montana, by County
Sanders 17.7%
Lincoln 15.6%
Mineral 12.2%
Flathead 11.3%
Glacier 10.3%