New numbers released this week show that Montana's unemployment rate declined to 4.4% in December. That was down from the 4.6% in November and 2.3% lower than the national unemployment rate, which came in at 6.7% in December.

“While we’re encouraged that Montana’s unemployment rate remains lower than the national rate, we have work to do to get our economy going again, get Montana open for business, and get Montanans back to work in good-paying jobs,” Governor Greg Gianforte said. 

Gallatin County sits at #10 in the state with an unemployment rate of 3.3% in December. 67,069 people were employed during the last month of 2020. That number is second highest in the state behind Yellowstone County. Missoula County was third with 61,256 people employed.

According to the news release from the governor's office, job gains in the state came in:

  • construction
  • retail trade
  • healthcare.

Total employment, which includes payroll, agricultural, and self-employed workers, fell by 1,180 jobs in December. That was the first decline since April of 2020.

Roughly 4,800 jobs were added during the 4th quarter of 2020, although the labor force did contract by nearly 2,400 jobs in December.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 0.4% in December, led by a large increase in gasoline prices. The index for all items less food and energy, referred to as core inflation, increased by 0.1%.

** Unemployment figures are seasonally-adjusted.  Seasonally-adjusted numbers remove the effects of events that follow a more or less regular month-to-month pattern each year. These adjustments make non-seasonal patterns easier to identify. The margin of error for the unemployment rate is plus or minus 0.6 percentage points at the 90 percent confidence level. All questions relating to the calculation of unemployment rates should be directed to the Montana Department of Labor & Industry’s Research and Analysis Bureau at 406-444-4100.

Because of the annual benchmarking process, which re-estimates and smooths over the labor market data with updated population estimates and additional data, the next Labor Situation Report for the month of January will not be released until Monday, March 15. The Labor Situation Report for February will follow on March 26. The normal data release schedule of the third Friday of the month will resume in April.

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