Montana’s Unemployment Rate Down to 4.4 Percent

Flathead County had a jobless rate of 7.8 percent, the sixth highest in the state

By Beacon Staff

Montana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.4 percent in January.

The state Labor Department says the rate dropped from 4.5 percent in December and is down from 5.3 percent in January 2014.

Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy says Montana’s total employment increased by 3,230 jobs in January, including 300 payroll jobs. The total jobs number also includes agricultural and self-employed workers.

Flathead County’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate hit 7.8 percent in January, the sixth highest in the state. In 2014, the jobless rate rose 1.1 percent in the county. There were 3,409 people unemployed in the county in January.

Lincoln County had the highest unemployment rate in the state in January at 13 percent. The jobless rate rose 3 percent in 2014.

Sanders County had an unemployment rate of 11.2 percent, fourth highest in the state. The jobless rate rose 2.4 percent last year.

Glacier County had the second highest jobless rate in January at 12.5 percent.

Lake County had an unemployment rate of 6.6 percent.

Montana’s labor force is just under 519,000 workers with nearly 496,000 employed. Just over 23,000 people are looking for work.

“Montana started 2015 with strong job growth, with the economy adding over 3,000 jobs in January,” Gov. Steve Bullock said.  “With strong wage growth last year, and low inflation because of falling fuel prices, more Montanans are employed and have more money in their pockets.”

The national unemployment rate was up slightly to 5.7 percent in January.

The Consumer Price Index fell sharply for the third straight month in January, declining by 0.7 percent because of a drop in energy prices.

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