Posted: Nov 21, 2012 9:51 AM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
HELENA - Montana's unemployment rate dropped to 6.0% during the month of October, the lowest the rate has been since June 2009.
The senior economist for the Montana Department of Labor, Barb Wagner, says Montana is doing very well when compared to other states.
"We are actually the 14th best unemployment rate in the nation right now," Wagner says.
The Montana Department of Labor reports 1,500 Montanans went back to work in October, the strongest monthly gain since the end of the recession.
Wagner says this growth is not taking place in government but instead the private sector.
"We've had very strong growth in the business and professional services industry in particularly the Bozeman area," Wagner says. "Our leisure activities which include ski resorts, but also our restaurants, our hotels and the local breweries have also been adding a lot of employment over the last year."
Wagner also points to the oil and gas sector, an industry that is playing a critical role in the state's economic growth.
She says even construction jobs are increasing, an industry that was hard hit by the recession, particularly in the northwest corner of the state.
"At this point all areas of the state are now in recovery, which is a really good sign," Wagner says. "Job growth in the northwest is expected to continue to be pretty slow for the next few years but overall that's where a lot of our people are, that's where a lot of our economy is and eventually that will come back to being one of our leaders in the state, but they do have a lot of transition to go through."
Wagner says the state's economy is picking up steam and she expects the unemployment rate to continue to drop.