Flathead’s Jobless Rate Decreases Slightly

By Beacon Staff

Flathead County’s unemployment rate continued to inch downward in June, dropping to 11.4 percent from 11.5 percent a month prior. It was the third month in a row the county’s non-seasonally adjusted jobless numbers decreased. Meanwhile, Montana’s rate continues to rise.

Flathead’s unemployment rate has fallen considerably since March’s record-breaking 13.8 percent rate, but it is still well above the 9.6 percent mark recorded in June 2009. The county has the fourth-highest jobless rate in the state, behind neighboring Lincoln, Sanders and Glacier counties, according to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.

Statewide, the unemployment rate continues to climb into territory last seen in the 1980s.

Montana’s unemployment rate increased to 7.3 percent in June, from 7.2 percent a month earlier.

The state’s unemployment rate has climbed steadily from less than 4 percent at the start of the recession in 2007. The current rate is the highest the state has seen since the 1980s, when unemployment rose above 8 percent.

The national unemployment rate currently stands at 9.5 percent.

Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly says that Montana’s economic recovery has slowed down since the first quarter. But he says some employment sectors saw small gains and the number of unemployment claims has continued to decrease.

Flathead unemployment rates by month:

June: 11.4%
May 2010: 11.5%
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%
See unemployment rates for every Montana county here (.pdf).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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