Governor Steve Bullock, along with Lt. Governor Mike Cooney and Montana Department of Labor & Industry Commissioner Galen Hollenbaugh, today presented the 2019 Labor Day Report to Montanans.
“As we present this report to Montanans, we mark the longest economic expansion in recorded U.S. history – a decade since the recession ended in June 2009,” said Governor Bullock. “This long period of growth has made a meaningful difference to Montana families who have experienced wage growth, a strong entrepreneurial climate, and a wealth of opportunities to continue their education or workforce training. We will continue to forge pathways for current and future workers to meet the demand for jobs and ensure continued economic prosperity.”
The Labor Day Report is compiled annually by the Montana Department of Labor & Industry and provides a detailed examination at the economic performance of the state as measured by key growth indicators such as such as employment growth, income growth, and workforce training and development.
The 2019 Labor Day Report highlights strengths of Montana’s growing economy using most recent data available, including:
- Montana has added 46,000 jobs since the end of the last recession. About 5,000 jobs were added over the last year ending July 2019.
- Montana’s real GDP has steadily expanded in nine out of the last ten years, adding roughly $400 million from 2017 to 2018.
- Montana’s personal income growth over the last year ranked 9th among states, adding $2.3 billion in personal income from 2017 to 2018.
- Montana had the 6th fastest growth in average annual wages among states from 2008 to 2018. Over the last year, wage growth accelerated, increasing by 3.2%.
- This rapid wage growth pushed Montana to 1st in the nation for median household income growth from 2016 to 2017, increasing by 6.7%. Median household income in Montana in 2017 was $53,386. This is the most recent period for which national data has been collected.
- Montana continues to be a national leader for entrepreneurialism, with the highest rate of business ownership among households in the nation. Montana ranked 14th among states for business startups in 2018.
- Montana’s population is well-educated and highly skilled, ranking 3rd in the nation for the percent of the population over 25 years of age with a high school diploma or equivalency. Roughly 65% of Montana’s population has some post-secondary education.
“On Labor Day 2019 Montanans continue to enjoy economic prosperity,” Commissioner Hollenbaugh said. “Our Department will continue to lead when addressing our state’s worker shortage by supporting both training and industry-driven partnerships. Together, we can ensure every Montanan has the skills they need to join the workforce and contribute to our continued economic success.”
The 2019 Labor Day Report was presented at Helena College’s Airport Campus to highlight the Montana Youth Apprenticeship Partnership. The program brings together public, private, and education sectors, including Helena College, to prepare students for meaningful careers, and plans to prepare and launch youth apprenticeship programs in healthcare and IT in Helena and Billings. The grant funding will support a strategic plan and implementation of youth apprenticeship programs over a 17-month period.
The report also highlights programs and initiatives to ensure Montana’s economy remains strong, including incentivizing apprenticeship and encouraging employers to offer work-based learning opportunities. As baby boomers begin to retire, it’s critical to increase engagement in the workforce. The report offers solutions such as making childcare more readily available and affordable or offering flexible schedule to help families balance working and parenting.
As former chair of National Governors Association, Governor Bullock discussed his recently released Good Jobs for All Americans guide to help workers adapt to a rapidly changing workforce. The guide will serve as a model for governors addressing workforce challenges for decades to come. Governor Bullock also discussed growing apprenticeship and work-based learning opportunities in the state, and efforts to upskill workers such as through the “Become an Alum” pilot program which assists Montanans who would like to return to school to complete a degree.
The full report is available here.