Montana’s unemployment rate increased slightly in March by one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.3 percent due to an expansion in the number of workers, according to state labor officials.
The U.S. unemployment rate also increased by one-tenth of a point to 5.0 percent.
“Strong wage growth is enticing more workers into the labor market, which will allow Montana’s economy to continue its steady growth,” said Montana Department of Labor & Industry Commissioner Pam Bucy. “We continue to develop more relationships with businesses across the state to expand training programs and create jobs in a variety of sectors, including construction, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing.”
Payroll employment added 400 jobs in March. Total employment estimates, which include agricultural and self-employed workers along with payroll workers, increased by 360 jobs. The labor force expanded by 654 workers.
Flathead County’s unemployment rate improved slightly from 7.3 percent to 7.1 percent in March. A total of 222 local jobs have been added since this time last year, according to labor officials.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis also released personal income data for 2015 that indicates personal income in Montana increased by 4.4 percent over the year. Personal income measures the amount of income received by Montana residents from economic activity, and includes wages, business income, royalties, and other sources of income.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose by 0.1 percent in March. Energy prices rose by 0.9 percent, the first increase since November. Core inflation, measured by the all items less food and energy index, rose 0.1 percent over the month. The price increases were somewhat offset by a 0.2 percent decline in food prices.
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