Governor Steve Bullock today highlighted a new report by The Pew Charitable Trusts which shows the share of middle-class households grew more in Montana than in any other state between 2013 and 2016. In 2013, 51% of households in Montana were middle class with a median income of $58,824, and in 2016 that percentage increased to 53.9% and the median income increased to $61,237. In most other states the increase was smaller than 2% over the same time period.
“In Montana we've made record investments in public education, expanded apprenticeships, increased access to healthcare and streamlined regulations to help small and large businesses create more jobs for Montana workers and families," said Governor Bullock. "We're working hand in hand with the private sector to identify opportunities for growth, and as a result our economy is stronger, wages are increasing and more Montanans are working than ever before in our state's history."
Since taking office, Governor Bullock has focused on growing Montana’s economy and ensuring more Montanans have the opportunity to get a quality education and work in good-paying jobs to support themselves and their families. Under Governor Bullock, more Montanans are working than ever before, unemployment levels are at historic lows and Montana is consistently ranked at the top of business and innovation rankings. To foster a business-friendly economic climate, Governor Bullock has:
- Led an unprecedented effort to bridge the gap between the public sector, private sector and education community through the Main Street Montana Project.
- Created the Office of Outdoor Recreation to better support Montana's recreation economy, which support 70,000 jobs and contributes $7.1 billion to Montana's economy every year.
- Expanded apprenticeship programs by over 30%, connecting businesses with skilled workers and creating more good-paying jobs, and created the first-ever tribal college apprenticeship program in the nation.
- Supported Indian Country economic development by creating a first-of-its kind Collateral Support Program for Native-owned businesses.
- Passed the state’s first-ever Earned Income Tax Credit, helping low-income and middle-class working families to get ahead and keep more of their hard-earned paychecks.
- Cut taxes for every small business in the state and eliminated the business equipment tax for two-thirds of Montana businesses.
In Montana, strong job growth has decreased unemployment and increased wages. As Montana’s population continues to age, greater labor force participation is needed to fill jobs, particularly in high-skilled areas. Working with the private sector, Governor Bullock has identified opportunities to attract more businesses to Montana and encourage investment by businesses already located here by waiving businesses’ tax obligations and allowing businesses to create more jobs and pay higher wages.