Flathead’s Jobless Rate Drops for First Time in Eight Months

By Beacon Staff

Flathead County’s unemployment rate dropped markedly, and for the first time in eight months, in April. Meanwhile, Montana’s rate remained steady.

Flathead’s non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate is 12.2 percent, down from March’s record-breaking 13.8 percent mark, according to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. The county still has the third-highest unemployment rate in the state, behind neighboring Lincoln and Sanders counties, which came in at 16.8 and 14 percent.

Statewide, the unemployment rate remained at a seasonally adjusted 7.1 percent for the second month in a row. In that time, the national unemployment rate increased from 9.7 percent to 9.9 percent.

When the state’s unemployment hit 7.1 percent in March, it was the first time that level had been reached since 1987.

Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly says that the state’s economy is showing signs of recovery. He says there was an increase in the number of jobs in April, the third straight month of job creation.

But the unemployment rate remained flat because there was also an increase in new workers entering the labor force.

Flathead’s jobless rate is the lowest since December and the first time it has dropped since August. The April number is still higher than it was at the same time last year, when the number of unemployed was recorded at 10.5 percent.

Flathead unemployment rates by month:

April 2010: 12.2%
March 2010: 13.8%
February 2010: 13.3%
January 2010: 13.2%
December 2009: 10.9%
November 2009: 10.1%
October 2009: 9.3%
September 2009: 8.8%
August 2009: 8.7%
July 2009: 9.1%
June 2009: 9.6%
May 2009: 9.7%
April 2009: 10.5%

See unemployment rates for every Montana county here (.pdf).

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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