Montana unemployment rate drops to 3.9 percent; Missoula County down to 2.5

Montana’s rate of unemployment fell to 3.9 percent for the month of May, trending alongside the national unemployment rate, which dipped to 3.8 percent, Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday.

Missoula’s unemployment rate was listed at 2.5 percent, marking an increase of 341 jobs over this time last year.

“Montana’s economy is strong and growing,” Bullock said. “More Montanans are on the job than ever before in our state’s history and we lead the country in middle-class growth.”

The Montana Department of Labor and Industry said payroll employment posted a gain of 1,000 jobs, while total employment levels posted insignificant changes over the last month.

The largest gains were in the professional and technical services industry.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased by .2 percent in May, primarily due to price jumps in gasoline and shelter. Over the last 12 months, inflation has accelerated, with an increase of 2.8 percent.

In a statement released Friday, Bullock said the state’s investments are paying off.

“We continue to invest in the workers of today and our workforce of tomorrow – all the way from preschool to post-secondary education like college, apprenticeships and work based-learning.”

The unemployment rate in Ravalli County was listed at 3.5 percent, and 4 percent in Flathead County. Sanders and Mineral counties continued to struggle, with an unemployment rate of 4.7 and 6.2 percent, respectively.