MISSOULA — Missoula’s rate of unemployment fell again in October, hitting a near-record low of 1.9% while unemployment across the state sank to just 3.1%.
Gov. Greg Gianforte, who was in Missoula on Friday to discuss the state’s apprenticeship program, was quick to promote the latest job figures.
“By opening Montana for business, we have more Montanans working than ever before,” Gianforte said in a statement “We’ll continue enacting policies that create more Montana jobs, increase opportunities, and bring the American dream into greater reach for more Montanans.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Montana’s 3.1% unemployment rate marks a low that’s been reached only six times over the last 45 years. The state added nearly 2,400 jobs and the labor force added nearly 1,200 workers.
The state’s unemployment rate of 3.1% in October is down from 3.3% in September. The lowest unemployment rate ever recorded in Montana was 2.8% in February of 2007.
According to figures released by the state, Missoula has added 2,143 jobs over the past year with more than 62,700 people now employed. Ravalli County added 737 jobs over the past year with around 20,700 people employed.
But several other western Montana counties continue to claim higher unemployment rates, including Lake County at 2.2%; Sanders at 2.6%; Lincoln at 3.1%; and Mineral at 3.2%.
While Montana’s figures continue to rebound from the pandemic, national figures have as well. The nation added 531,000 jobs in October and saw its unemployment rate fall from 4.8% to 4.6%. Democrats have attributed the gains in part to new legislation.
Sen. Jon Tester will be in Missoula this week to promote the recently passed infrastructure bill. Earlier this month he said, “This legislation is going to create a whole lot of good-paying jobs across Montana, and also the country.”
Democrats also contend that the measure – and possibly the Build Back Better plan – will work to ease inflation. Republicans, however, have used current inflation as a tool to attack what they’ve billed as wasteful spending.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.9% in October. Gasoline prices increased 6.1%.
“Whether at the grocery store or the gas pump, Montanans are seeing their paychecks stretched thinner and thinner as inflation reaches highs we haven’t seen in more than a generation,” Gianforte said. “It’s time for the Biden administration to turn off the spigot of out-of-control spending to get inflation under control.”