Posted: Jun 4, 2013 10:13 PM by Melissa Anderson - MTN News
HELENA - The nation's economy is reportedly on the upswing, but with an improving economy, Montanans can also expect a higher cost of living.
Mike Dalton of Mountain West Bank said, "The fact that we're seeing an improving economy and activity here at the bank is starting to really pick up here on the west side so we wanted to be able to extend services by having our lobby hours now."
One of the first customers in the door was seven-year-old Kristian Schafer, who cashed in $90 of he and his sibling's change. Kristian said, "We're saving it for the church, and my bank account and some to use."
With Memorial Day weekend over, businesses in Montana are heading into the summer months hoping to see an increase in tourism, despite seeing the highest gas prices all year.
"With Montana we are currently experiencing the highest price that we've experienced all year. And so that's pretty typical for what we see with gas price trends. What we can usually expect to see with the early months of the summer is a slight decrease in price," said Kaelyn Kelly of AAA Mountain West.
And with an increase in the cost of gas also comes an increase in food prices and other commodities dependent upon travel.
The agriculture industry in Montana is experiencing the lowest production of beef since the 1950's, which is also a product of the weather.
"We have seen that a lot of the country is seeing some moisture so I think that is going to create some optimism in the beef market complex, and creates some optimism in our business to start expanding our cattle herd a little bit and can start to stabilize these retail beef prices for the consumer," explained Errol Rice of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.
With unemployment on a slow downward trend and housing prices and sales going up, economists and those depending on sales are looking forward to better months ahead.
Consumers, on the other hand, will still need to put a little bit back in the bank, in order to keep ahead of the increased cost of living.