In recognition of Labor Day, Montana Governor Steve Bullock proclaimed that the state’s economy will continue a growth trend for the next ten years.
Stats that support that projection come from the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. In its annual Labor Day Report the agency reports that Montana has added tens of thousands of jobs since the Great Recession ended in 2009.
So greatly is Montana’s job market growing, that the biggest problem to economic growth is the challenge of filling those positions. That fact is driving up wages, in keeping with the law of supply and demand – when a commodity is in short supply the price goes up.
The trend has been on-going for the last three years. Jobs have steadily been increasing but not so the number of workers.
Montana’s rising wages have had an impact on another economic gauge – median household income growth. Montana ranked sixth in the nation in income growth between 2016 and 2017. The state’s median income rose 6.7% to $53,386. The figure includes earnings from business ownership and investments.
Since 2009, Montana wage growth has increased by 2.7 percent – more than $10,000.
Montana’s economic growth has not been consistent across the state, however. Payroll jobs increased 19 percent throughout Southwest Montana, including Bozeman, over the past ten years. Payroll employment in Eastern Montana, peaked at about 15 percent in 2013 during the Bakken Oil boom, but then dropped down to one percent growth.
North-central Montana has experienced negative job growth since 2009, losing about 640 jobs.
Overall the state has had an unemployment rate under 4 percent, but for some areas the unemployment rate persists at high rates, such as for American Indian Reservations where the unemployment rate can be two or three times higher than the state average, although it has been trending downward.
In general more men are in the job market than women by a difference of about 10 percent. Between the ages of 25 and 54, 88.5 percent of men actively look for work while only 77.6 percent of women.
One of the reasons given for not being in the labor force is a lack of child care. Licensed childcare facilities have capacity for only 40 percent of children in Montana under age five.
Among the older age groups 60.4 percent of workers say they are retired.