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Montana unemployment rate falls to 2.5%; Missoula at 3%

Unemployment Form
Posted at 10:01 AM, Mar 17, 2023

MISSOULA - Missoula's unemployment rate fell to 3% in January and added 1,800 jobs over the prior year, the Montana Department of Labor and Industry said Thursday.

Statewide, the unemployment rate declined to 2.5%, matching what the Governor's Office called a record low initially set in Gov. Greg Gianforte's second year in office.

Gianforte was quick to take credit for the latest figures.

“Hardworking Montanans continue to drive our state’s growing economy, despite severe national headwinds,” Gianforte said in a statement. “Montanans are setting new records for job creation, business creation, and employment.”

According to the Department of Labor and Industry, the state's unemployment rate as a whole has only dipped below 3% in 18 months since 1976, when such record-keeping began. Gianforte noted that 15 of those 18 months have been under his watch.



COUNTY UNEMPLOYMENT RATES

County unemployment rates and employment levels are not seasonally adjusted and should be compared to the unadjusted statewide unemployment rate of 3.0%.

 Unemployment Rate Employment 
Rank County Current Unemployment Rate Change over Year Current Employment Job Change from Last Year 
Fallon 1.6 -0.6 1643 64 
Daniels 1.7 -0.3 880 
Toole 1.7 -0.7 2084 97 
Wibaux 1.8 -1.6 434 41 
Gallatin 1.9 -0.3 76300 3483 
Liberty -0.6 1004 25 
McCone -0.1 991 23 
Carter 2.1 -0.2 698 48 
Madison 2.1 -0.6 5970 799 
Richland 2.1 -0.8 5819 40 
11 Dawson 2.2 -0.6 4455 63 
11 Hill 2.2 -0.6 7305 27 
11 Sheridan 2.2 -0.6 1747 24 
14 Beaverhead 2.3 -0.9 5474 471 
15 Meagher 2.4 -0.4 1067 29 
15 Stillwater 2.4 -0.4 5278 -103 
17 Sweet Grass 2.5 1879 
17 Treasure 2.5 0.2 357 17 
17 Yellowstone 2.5 -0.5 83231 500 
20 Chouteau 2.6 0.2 2483 81 
20 Lewis and Clark 2.6 -0.4 37970 1828 
20 Pondera 2.6 -0.5 2592 31 
23 Carbon 2.7 -0.7 5594 43 
23 Judith Basin 2.7 -0.2 1003 46 
25 Jefferson 2.8 -0.4 6003 276 
25 Cascade 2.8 -0.4 38447 1566 
27 Deer Lodge 2.9 -0.6 5292 401 
27 Golden Valley 2.9 -1.1 367 
29 Musselshell -1.4 2293 13 
29 Powder River 0.2 1005 36 
29 Valley -0.6 3848 -35 
29 Missoula -0.6 65413 1868 
33 Custer 3.2 -0.2 6199 178 
33 Park 3.2 -0.5 9581 928 
33 Petroleum 3.2 270 -1 
36 Rosebud 3.3 -0.7 3415 74 
36 Teton 3.3 0.1 2757 
36 Silver Bow 3.3 -0.5 17114 313 
39 Powell 3.5 0.7 2748 -89 
39 Ravalli 3.5 -0.5 21200 752 
41 Blaine 3.7 -0.2 2163 -5 
41 Fergus 3.7 -0.5 5647 43 
41 Roosevelt 3.7 -0.5 4237 111 
44 Lake 3.8 -0.2 13849 343 
44 Flathead 3.8 -0.5 50346 1384 
46 Garfield 4.1 0.8 747 10 
46 Prairie 4.1 -0.2 492 
46 Wheatland 4.1 -1 744 21 
49 Broadwater 4.3 -0.2 2744 180 
50 Big Horn 4.4 -2.7 4435 215 
51 Phillips 0.6 1767 
52 Granite 5.1 -0.8 1617 
53 Glacier 5.5 -1.4 5397 296 
54 Mineral 5.6 -1.7 1713 -14 
55 Lincoln -1.2 8206 710 
55 Sanders -0.2 5125 230 

RESERVATION UNEMPLOYMENT RATES

Reservation unemployment rates and employment levels are not seasonally adjusted and should be compared to the unadjusted statewide unemployment rate of 3.0%. Reservation areas overlap with county areas, meaning that unemployed individuals living on a reservation will be included in both the reservation and county totals.

 Unemployment Rate Employment 
Rank Area Current Unemployment Rate Change over Year Current Employment Job Change from Last Year 
Flathead 4.1 -0.1 13581 357 
Fort Peck 4.8 -0.6 3806 86 
Crow 6.6 -3.9 2284 100 
Blackfeet 7.7 -1.8 3808 198 
Rocky Boy's 7.8 -0.9 1066 13 
Northern Cheyenne 8.1 -2.3 1208 37 
Fort Belknap 9.2 711 -2 



Total Montana employment in January reported nearly 556,000 jobs – an increase of more than 1,400 jobs. The construction industry lead the job gains, the state said.

“We'll keep building on our pro-business, pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda so more Montanans can thrive, prosper, and achieve the American dream,” Gianforte said.

The thriving job market isn't isolated to Montana. Total employment rose by more than 311,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate settled at 3.6%. Average hourly earnings increased $0.08 in February, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Several western Montana counties continue to struggle with higher unemployment rates including Sanders and Lincoln counties at 6%, Mineral County at 5.6% and Granite County at 5.1%.

The unemployment rate in Flathead and Lake counties was 3.8% in January, and 3.5% in Ravalli County.