Montana’s unemployment rate held steady at 5.4 percent in June, the same rate as in May, a pause in the long-term downward trend experienced throughout 2013. The national rate also was steady at 7.6 percent.
In Valley County, the rate of unemployment was 4.4 percent, its customary place in the middle of the figures for counties in northeastern and eastern Montana. Unemployment in neighboring counties: Phillips – 5.7 percent, Roosevelt – 6.5 percent, Sheridan – 2.5 percent, Daniels – 4.4 percent, McCone – 2.7 percent, Richland – 2.7 percent, Dawson – 4.0 percent.
County unemployment rates and employment levels are not seasonally adjusted and should be compared to the unadjusted statewide unemployment rate of 5.5 percent.
“Montana’s economy got back on track in the second quarter of 2013 after a slow first quarter,” said Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy. “We added over 1,700 jobs this quarter, and have gained over 6,000 jobs over the last year.”
Private payroll growth was very strong for the month, adding 2,300 jobs. However, government job losses countered these gains, resulting in a gain of only 100 jobs for payroll employment (combining the private and public sectors). Total employment estimates, which include payroll employment plus the self-employed, also suggested little change in job levels for June. The flat employment estimates for June followed fairly large employment gains in May and moderate gains in April.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 0.5 percent in June. Although the 0.5 percent increase is relatively large compared to recent months, inflation over the past year is fairly moderate at 1.8 percent. Most of the increase was caused by sharply rising gasoline prices, which increased by 6.3 percent over the month after declining for the last three months. Gasoline prices have increased by 2.8 percent over the last year. Core inflation, measured by the all items less food and energy index, rose by 0.2 percent.