Montana Unemployment Falls to New Record Low in March

  • — April 21 2023

State’s labor force, total employment continue strong growth

HELENA, Mont. – Montana’s unemployment rate reached yet another all-time low in March, ticking down to 2.3% from 2.4% in February, the fourth lowest rate in the nation. Montana’s unemployment rate has fallen for four consecutive months, and the number of unemployed Montanans reached an all-time low in March.

Montana’s total employment and labor force continued to show strong growth in March, also setting new record highs.

“With our pro-jobs, pro-family policies and the unparalleled work ethic of Montanans, our economy is setting the standard for the nation,” Gov. Gianforte said. “We’ll continue to work with job creators to bring new folks into the workforce and make sure they get the training and skills they need to succeed, thrive, and prosper.”

Total employment in Montana, which includes payroll, agricultural, and self-employed workers, added 1,847 jobs in March. In just the first three months of 2023, Montana has created more than 4,600 jobs – the fifth fastest rate of job creation for the first three months of the year since recordkeeping began in 1976.

March marks the 17th consecutive month of unemployment below 3.0% in Montana. In only three other months since 1976 has Montana’s unemployment been below 3.0%. Cumulatively, more than 37,500 new jobs have been created across Montana since Governor Gianforte took office. Montana’s total employment has grown by more than 17% from its pandemic-era lows.

The unemployment rate for the U.S changed little at 3.5%.

Montana’s labor force has also continued its growth, hitting a record of more than 559,000 Montanans. The state’s labor force had added some 33,000 workers from its pandemic-era low.

The number of unemployed Montanans also reached a new record low in March, with 13,231 workers unemployed statewide – a decline of almost 550 unemployed workers from February. The March figure represents the fewest number of unemployed Montanans since recordkeeping began.

In March, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.1% over-the-month. The index for shelter was by far the largest contributor to the monthly all items increase, which more than offset a 3.5% decline in energy prices. The food index was unchanged in March with the food at home index falling 0.3%. The 12-month change in the all-items index was 5.0%, indicating inflation is still taking a toll on Montana families and employers. The index for all items minus food and energy, also called core inflation, increased by 0.4% for the month, with a 5.6% increase in the year ending in March.


** Unemployment figures are seasonally-adjusted. Seasonally-adjusted numbers remove the effects of events that follow a more or less regular month-to-month pattern each year. These adjustments make non-seasonal patterns easier to identify. The margin of error for the unemployment rate is plus or minus 0.5 percentage points at the 90 percent confidence level. All questions relating to the calculation of unemployment rates should be directed to the Montana Department of Labor & Industry’s Data and Operations Bureau at 406-444-4100 

The next Labor Market Information report, including data from April 2023, will be released on Friday, May 19th.

Contact Sam Loveridge: Public Information Officer, Department of Labor and Industry
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