Montana Governor Steve Bullock announced Montana’s unemployment rate held steady in April, remaining at 3.8%. The U.S. unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 4.4%. Convergence of the national and state rates is expected as labor markets tighten.
“Montana’s economy is the envy of the nation,” said Governor Steve Bullock. “Main Street Montana businesses are growing and hiring more workers, and we are coming up with new and innovative ways to make sure employers have the workforce they need.”
“Montana’s unemployment rate continues to be at low levels, which can make it difficult for employers to find the skilled workers they need to grow and expand their operations,” said Labor & Industry Commissioner Pam Bucy. “However, tight labor markets also have benefits for workers because of rising wages and ample job opportunities.”
Total employment levels, which include self-employed and agricultural workers, indicated a decline of 830 jobs over the month. The number of unemployed people increased slightly. Payroll employment declined by 1,100 jobs in April, led by losses in the construction industry. Payroll employment remains over 8,000 higher than April 2016, maintaining above average employment growth over the past year. Given the strong growth in employment levels over the last year, the April employment declines seem likely related to delays in seasonal construction hiring, rather than a change in Montana’s economic growth trends.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2% in April, with broad-based increases in prices. Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U has increased by 2.2%. The index for all items less food and energy, also called core inflation, posted a gain of 0.1% in April.