Steady employment gains resulted in a drop in Flathead County’s jobless rate last month, according to the state’s latest labor statistics.
Flathead County’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 9 percent to 8.3 percent between January and February, according to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. There were 3,649 unemployed residents in the Flathead last month and 40,166 employed.
Lincoln County maintained the highest jobless rate in the state with 16.5 percent, or 1,228 unemployed residents. Sanders County had the second highest rate, at 14.7 percent. Glacier County’s rate hit 11.8 percent.
The state’s overall unemployment rate continues to slightly decline and landed at 5.1 percent last month, down 0.2 percent from January. Nearly 5,000 jobs have been added so far in 2014, according to Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy.
The U.S. unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points in February, up to 6.7 percent.
“Montana’s economy continues to show strong growth in February, adding over 3,000 jobs,” Gov. Steve Bullock said. “I look forward to working with Main Street Montana businesses to ensure the state’s economy continues to grow in 2014.”
February posted large gains in both employment and the labor force. Total employment, which includes payroll employment plus agricultural and self-employed workers, added 3,090 jobs in February – one of the largest over-the-month job gains in the history of the data series. The Montana labor force also increased by 2,480 workers, which is also a large increase compared to other months. Payroll employment estimates signal smaller job growth of 400 jobs, with small employment changes across most industries.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1 percent in February, led by food price increases. The food index rose by 0.4 percent, with prices for grocery store food increasing. Core inflation, measured by the all items less food and energy index, rose by 0.1 percent, maintaining relatively low inflation levels.
February 2014 County Labor Force Statistics
Big Horn 14.1
Deer Lodge 7.6
Golden Valley 4.2
Judith Basin 4.3
Lewis & Clark 4.7
Powder River 3.9
Silver Bow 5.8
Sweet Grass 2.9
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