For The Courier 

Jobless Rate Dips Below 3% Here

Unemployment Down to 4.6% In Montana; U.S. Still At 6.3%


Valley County’s unemployment rate in May dropped below 3 percent again, while Montana’s unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage points over the month for a rate of 4.6 percent in May. The U.S. unemployment rate held steady at 6.3 percent.

Valley County’s labor force for the May was recorded at 4,144, with 4,031 employed.

“Montana’s unemployment rate continues to drop due to strong employment growth in 2014,” Gov. Steve Bullock said. “Montanans can enjoy these summer months with confidence in a growing economy and a state government that is doing everything it can to facilitate continued growth into the future.”

Montana’s unemployment rate is now below average levels, which will drive wage growth over the next year, state Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy said.

“The Department of Labor and Industry continues to work to train workers that are still unemployed so the benefits of the economic recovery are felt by all Montanans,” Bucy said.

Total statewide employment, which includes payroll employment plus agricultural and self-employed workers, added 1,326 jobs in May. Montana has added over 10,000 jobs since the beginning of the year, and since May 2013 has had an annual growth rate of 2.1 percent.

In comparison, Montana’s average growth rate is roughly 1 percent annually. The labor force increased by 341 workers, more than adding back the slight losses that were posted last month. Payroll employment estimates indicate smaller job gains over the year of roughly 5,000 jobs, with only 300 private sector jobs added in May.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.4 percent in May after increasing by 0.3 percent in April, raising concerns that inflation may be on the rise. Inflation has been extremely low during the recession, but is expected to increase due to faster economic growth. A 0.4 percent increase is still within moderate levels.

The price increase was broad-based across many goods, with the food index rising by 0.5 percent. Core inflation, measured by the all items less food and energy index, rose by 0.3 percent, the largest increase since August 2011.


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