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The potential effects of Montana’s low unemployment rate on holiday hiring



Helena, Montana – In August, Montana’s unemployment rate fell below 3% for the 22nd consecutive month.

“Since the 1970s we’ve only been under 3% for 25 months, 22 of those have been the last 22 consecutive months,” said Montana Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Sarah Swanson.

Over 40,000 new employment have been generated in the state since January 2021, bringing the number of unemployed persons down to about 13,000.

“There’s actually three open jobs right now for every unemployed person in Montana at the moment,” Swanson said.

Montana’s employment has increased each month in 2023, reaching a record high of nearly 563,000 people in August.

Construction, business services, and leisure activities are the top three industries in Montana that are producing jobs.

“We know that we have more folks employed in the construction industry than any time before,” said Swanson, “It’s a lot of our skilled trades and it’s a lot of our health care workforce are absolutely increasing.”

As the holiday season gets underway, there are fewer workers available due to lower unemployment.

From the more conventional retail assistance during the holiday season to the employment that run Montana’s ski resorts, the state heavily rely on seasonal labor.

“Those seasonal workers that work in construction and the tourism industry are very often available and looking for active work into the holiday season, so I think we’ll be able to meet our retail demands using those seasonal folks who are not actively in those professions going into the colder months,” Swanson said.

Looking ahead, Montana’s jobless trajectory appears to guarantee that things will stay this way.

“We have a seven-year trend of low unemployment in Montana, and I think it’s a symptom of our really healthy economy these last three years,” said Swanson.


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