Flathead’s Jobless Rate Hits 12.1 Percent

By Beacon Staff

Flathead County’s unemployment rate marched upward for the third straight month in December, rising to 12.1 percent, its highest level since April 2010.

The county’s non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate has risen by more than two points since September after falling for six straight months. Flathead’s rate ranks fifth highest in the state behind four other Northwest Montana counties, led by Lincoln with 18 percent.

Historically, the number of unemployed in Flathead County continues to rise in the late winter and early spring, which means the record rate of 13.8 percent, set in March 2010, could be eclipsed.

Meanwhile, on the state level, Montana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.2 percent.

Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly says Montana has added about 5,700 private sector jobs since May, but government jobs are declining, causing unemployment to remain fairly level.

The national unemployment rate fell from 9.8 percent in November to 9.4 percent in December.
Here are the jobless rates for every Montana county (.pdf).

Flathead unemployment rates by month:

December 2010: 12.1%
November 2010: 11.8%
October 2010: 10.8%
September 2010: 9.8%
August 2010: 10.2%
July 2010: 10.8%
June 2010: 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%

The Associated Press contributed to this story.