Posted: Feb 7, 2013 8:30 PM by KXLF
Updated: Feb 7, 2013 8:43 PM
Butte's economy will continue to rely on the mining industry, according to Paul Polzin, director emeritus of the University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research. Commodity prices will need to remain high.
"The biggest determiners of the trend in the mining industry are the world copper prices and other commodity prices," Polzin said.
Representatives from the UM Bureau of Business predict a 2-2.5 percent increase on average for Butte-Silver Bow.
"The Butte-Silver Bow economy was relatively unaffected by the last recession. There was some impact, but it only lasted one year," Polzin said.
During the Great Recession Butte-Silver Bow lost 900 workers," according to John Kasperick, director of finance at NorthWestern Energy. Since that time the employment industry has grown. Butte-Silver Bow saw the most growth in 2012.
Due to diversification in Butte-Silver Bow the county was able to recover lost jobs. The state is ranked 14th in unemployment.
"If you look back just a year or two we were about 20th lowest, so we've improved, added jobs back, and unemployment rates have come down," Kasperick said.
Manufacturing and transportation have risen in prominence in Butte-Silver Bows economy.
"One of the encouraging features here in the Butte-Silver Bow economy has been diversification within manufacturing," Polzin said. "REC Silicon of course out grades on a world scale and is effected by world markets. There now is going to be a transportation equipment manufacturer who is expanding. This provides more diversity for the Butte economic base."
Travel spending in Montana is expected to increase," according to Norma Nickerson, director of the UM Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research. Over 65 million international visitors were projected to visit Montana in 2012. A two percent growth is expected for the travel industry in Montana.
Montana saw an overall growth of 2.7 percent, according to Patrick Barkey, director of the UM Bureau of Business and Economic Research.
"It's been reflected in Montana income tax collections, which are up very strongly for the fiscal year that concluded in July, and they continue to be pretty strong right to this present date," Barkey said.
The manufacturing industry in Montana is up seven percent since 2010, according to Todd Morgan, director of forest industry research of the UM Bureau of Business and Economic Research.
A three percent increase is projected for Montana on a yearly basis.