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Montana Chamber of Commerce holds virtual economic update

Posted at 10:35 AM, Aug 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-09 12:35:10-04

A virtual economic update Thursday involving state leaders shows Montana's been hit hard by a lack of consumer spending.

The Montana Chamber of Commerce held the meeting with University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research Director Patrick Barkey, who gave an assessment of Montana’s economic forecast.

Barkey says economic declines were huge in April with healthcare, recreation and the service industry seeing a significant impact. Since April, Barkey says the state has seen a bounce-back in jobs and consumer spending.

Montana’s unemployment numbers are high, but better than the U.S. average, according to Barkey. He adds Montana businesses with links to riskier activities will have more challenges ahead.

“So those are things that people don’t have to do or they don’t want to do because they don’t want to be on a plane, they don’t want to be in an arena etc., so if that’s part of your business and there are a lot of those businesses there like the University of Montana, I would argue I work for one of those, we have more challenges ahead than other kinds of businesses like construction,” said Barkey.

Barkey expects air travel to be one of the last areas to fully recover from the economic crisis.