Strong employment gains in state
Montana Living — Montana’s unemployment rate moved to 4.1% for the month of December, ticking up slightly to end 2017 despite strong payroll employment gains at the second fastest in the nation.
The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 4.1%.
Montana added nearly 4,000 payroll jobs in the last month, making Montana the second fastest state in the nation for payroll employment growth.
Payroll employment increased by 3,900 over the month, the strongest payroll job gains since January 2015. Despite the strong payroll employment growth, the unemployment rate ticked up slightly because model estimates indicate that total employment (which includes payroll jobs plus the self-employed and agricultural workers) remained fairly level over the month.
Unemployment rate and employment estimates are revised each year in February in a process called benchmarking, which typically results in more accurate estimates and that likely will resolve conflicts between total and payroll employment trends.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose by 0.1% in December, led by an increase in the shelter index. The shelter increase includes the price of housing and rent. The price of gasoline declined in December. Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U has increased by 2.1%. The index for all items less food and energy, also called core inflation, increased 0.3% in December, with a change of 1.8% over the last year.
** 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 nonseasonal 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 and Industry’s Research and Analysis Bureau at 1-800-541-3904.
The next Labor Situation Report for the month of January 2018 will be released on Monday, March 12, 2018. State unemployment rate estimates are not released during the month of February because analysts re-estimate data from the prior year in a process called benchmarking, which results in more accurate estimates.
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Visit our website at www.lmi.mt.gov for additional information and analysis, including industry employment levels, background on the unemployment rate, and wage rates by occupation. This month’s Economy at a Glance examines how employment growth has differed in rural and urban Montana over the last 20 years.