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Montana unemployment hits record low of 2.4%

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Posted at 4:52 PM, Mar 24, 2023

MISSOULA - While Montana's unemployment rate has flirted with historic lows several times in the past two years, it finally crossed the threshold in February, falling to 2.4%.

That's down 0.1% from January and it marks a new all-time low, according to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.

The nation's rate of unemployment ticked up slightly to 3.6% while Missoula County sits at 2.8%.

“While we face strong national headwinds, Montanans are driving our state’s strong economy,” Gov. Greg Gianforte said in a statement. “More Montanans are working than ever before, and we have record-low unemployment.

Total employment in Montana added 1,265 jobs in February, pushing the state's total job figure to more than 557,000. The state also added 300 payroll jobs in February with retail trade, leisure and hospitality, and accommodations and food service leading the way.

According to the state, Montana’s unemployment dipped below 3% in November 2021. Since Gianforte assumed office that year, the number of unemployed Montanans has dropped by more than 36%.

Gianforte took credit for the latest figures and criticized Washington, D.C., politics.

“In contrast to the reckless, anti-jobs policies coming out of Washington, D.C., we’ll keep driving our pro-family, pro-jobs, pro-business agenda to benefit all Montanans,” he said.

Several western Montana counties still struggle with high unemployment rates including Lincoln and Mineral counties at 5.9%; Sanders at 5.5%; and Glacier at 5.4%.

Ravalli County recorded an unemployment rate of 3.3% in February while Lake and Flathead counties stood at 3.6%.



COUNTY UNEMPLOYMENT RATES

County unemployment rates and employment levels are not seasonally adjusted and should be compared to the unadjusted statewide unemployment rate of 2.8%.

 
Unemployment Rate
Employment
Rank
County
Current Unemployment Rate
Change over Year
Current Employment
Job Change from Last Year

Toole 
1.7 
-0.7 
2,065 
40 

Fallon 
1.7 
-0.2 
1,639 
-1 

Wibaux 
1.8 
-1.0 
429 
17 

Gallatin 
1.8 
-0.3 
77,896 
2,844 

Daniels 
1.8 
-0.1 
869 
-13 

Golden Valley 
1.9 
-2.3 
365 


Dawson 
1.9 
-0.6 
4,469 
-37 

Sweet Grass 
2.0 
-0.3 
1,884 
-79 

McCone 
2.0 
-0.1 
981 
14 

Carter 
2.0 
0.0 
683 

11 
Meagher 
2.1 
-1.0 
1,054 
45 
11 
Stillwater 
2.1 
-0.7 
5,298 
-58 
11 
Hill 
2.1 
-0.6 
7,377 
-105 
11 
Richland 
2.1 
-0.6 
5,800 
82 
11 
Madison 
2.1 
-0.5 
5,962 
512 
11 
Liberty 
2.1 
-0.4 
994 
15 
17 
Beaverhead 
2.2 
-1.0 
5,484 
431 
18 
Sheridan 
2.3 
-0.5 
1,738 
24 
19 
Pondera 
2.4 
-0.5 
2,598 

19 
Lewis and Clark 
2.4 
-0.4 
38,248 
1,145 
19 
Yellowstone 
2.4 
-0.4 
83,499 
-154 
22 
Judith Basin 
2.5 
-0.3 
997 
30 
22 
Treasure 
2.5 
0.5 
353 

24 
Teton 
2.6 
-0.5 
2,756 
27 
24 
Chouteau 
2.6 
0.1 
2,484 
59 
26 
Valley 
2.7 
-1.0 
3,853 
-15 
26 
Carbon 
2.7 
-0.4 
5,591 

26 
Cascade 
2.7 
-0.3 
38,442 
757 
29 
Musselshell 
2.8 
-0.7 
2,297 
15 
29 
Missoula 
2.8 
-0.5 
65,885 
1,826 
29 
Jefferson 
2.8 
-0.3 
6,039 
174 
29 
Deer Lodge 
2.8 
-0.2 
5,309 
118 
33 
Petroleum 
2.9 
-0.7 
269 

33 
Park 
2.9 
-0.4 
9,711 
526 
33 
Powder River 
2.9 
0.1 
993 
15 
36 
Custer 
3.0 
-0.1 
6,245 
22 
37 
Ravalli 
3.3 
-0.5 
21,382 
490 
37 
Rosebud 
3.3 
-0.5 
3,423 
-81 
37 
Silver Bow 
3.3 
-0.2 
17,268 
-39 
37 
Powell 
3.3 
0.0 
2,747 
-59 
41 
Roosevelt 
3.5 
-0.5 
4,243 
42 
42 
Flathead 
3.6 
-0.5 
50,698 
1,472 
42 
Lake 
3.6 
-0.3 
13,939 
464 
42 
Blaine 
3.6 
0.1 
2,174 
-82 
45 
Fergus 
3.7 
-0.1 
5,664 
-58 
45 
Garfield 
3.7 
0.2 
735 
-26 
47 
Prairie 
3.9 
-0.6 
489 
-4 
48 
Wheatland 
4.0 
-0.7 
736 
14 
49 
Broadwater 
4.1 
-0.3 
2,747 
102 
50 
Big Horn 
4.3 
-0.9 
4,438 
-109 
51 
Phillips 
4.4 
0.1 
1,758 
-27 
52 
Granite 
4.7 
-0.7 
1,629 
25 
53 
Glacier 
5.4 
-0.5 
5,411 
173 
54 
Sanders 
5.5 
-0.4 
5,156 
136 
55 
Mineral 
5.9 
-1.3 
1,721 
89 
55 
Lincoln 
5.9 
-0.3 
8,229 
149 

RESERVATION UNEMPLOYMENT RATES

Reservation unemployment rates and employment levels are not seasonally adjusted and should be compared to the unadjusted statewide unemployment rate of 2.8%. Reservation areas overlap with county areas, meaning that unemployed individuals living on a reservation will be included in both the reservation and county totals.

 
Unemployment Rate 
Employment 
Rank 
Area 
Current Unemployment Rate 
Change over Year 
Current Employment 
Job Change from Last Year 

Flathead 
3.8 
-0.4 
13,668 
445 

Fort Peck 
4.5 
-0.7 
3,811 
33 

Crow 
6.5 
-1.3 
2,286 
-52 

Blackfeet 
7.5 
-0.8 
3,819 
115 

Rocky 
7.7 
-1.0 
1,074 
-2 

Northern 
8.0 
-1.4 
1,210 
-29 

Fort Belknap 
8.8 
0.2 
715 
-27