Tech, timber other sectors show growth in MT economic report - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Tech, timber other sectors show growth in MT economic report

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MISSOULA - It’s not exactly “boom times”. But Montana’s major cities are showing some positive economic growth as 2018 gets underway. 

However, the latest report from the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research shows there are still some troublesome areas too, especially when it comes to agriculture and energy, which are being slammed by slumping prices.

BBER researchers have started their annual statewide tour to discuss their findings, making presentations in Missoula Friday morning. The focus of the report this year is on higher education, a sector that’s still critical to Montana’s economy but showing some changes in how people perceive the value of a degree. 

However, there are other high points in the report. That includes timber, where a boom in commercial and residential building is actually creating some shortages of lumber products, and the tech sector, which is remarkably robust in Missoula, Bozeman and Kalispell, helping to fuel job growth and spending.

“The tech growth, primarily in Bozeman and Missoula, but also in other communities around the state has really captured a lot of attention and interest," said Patrick Barney. "But it’s also showing up. This has been a year that Missoula has done quite a bit better, as has Bozeman and some of the other communities. And that’s been part of the story, it what’s going on with the tech group.”

Researchers also say the Montana healthcare industry continues to grow, driven largely by the state’s aging population. 

The next presentations in the BBER series are:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 30 in Billings at the Doubletree Hotel
  • Wednesday, Jan. 31 in Bozeman at The Commons at Baxter and Love
  • Thursday, Feb. 1 at the Northwestern Energy office in Butte.
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