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45th Economic Outlook Seminar comes to Missoula

2019 Montana Economic Report
Posted at 9:38 AM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 11:38:13-05

MISSOULA — Researchers at the University of Montana say Missoula, and much of Western Montana, continues to see strong economic growth but there are challenges ahead -- including the rising cost of housing.

Those are some of the findings in this year's 2019 Economic Report, prepared by the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

The findings verify what we're seeing in Western Montana, namely, a strong economic current -- with challenges in affordable housing, and finding enough workers to fill positions during this period of record employment. Yet we're still cycling out of the effects of the recession a decade ago.

"And it was a pretty rocky beginning. A rocky beginning here in Missoula. We had an extra year of recession here when Smurfit Stone closed. As you recall, that was a big blow,” University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research director Patrick Barkey said.

“And we had some different things happening in different parts of the state. So, where we are right now, is the question is, 'what's healthy and what's not?' And clearly what's healthy right now is consumer spending. Consumers have a lot of confidence. Consumers are spending. Consumers are well positioned to spend,” he added.

Barkey and his colleagues are presenting the report until 1 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Registration for the seminar costs $90. For Montana University System faculty, staff and students, registration is $25. Continuing education credits are available, and groups of five or more can receive a discount. The seminars will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more information or to register or call (406) 243-5113.

The remaining schedule is:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 4, Northern Hotel, Billings
  • Wednesday, Feb. 5, The Commons, Bozeman (includes live webcast)
  • Thursday, Feb. 6, NorthWestern Energy General Office, Butte
  • Tuesday, Feb. 11, Hilton Garden Inn, Kalispell
  • Tuesday, March 17, MSU Northern, Havre
  • Wednesday, March 18, Central Montana Education Center, Lewistown
  • Thursday, March 19, Lone Peak Cinema, Big Sky