State of the Montana Economy

Economic seminar examines Montana economy

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Is the Montana economy still roaring ahead?

It has been over the last two years. At the end of fiscal year 2022, collections from the top seven taxes were up by a stunning 39% from the previous year. But through the first 10 months of this fiscal year, those same taxes produced 3% less. Total wages paid to workers closed out 2022 lower than the end of 2021, even in the high-flying places within the state (Gallatin, Missoula, and Flathead).

With the exception of construction and tourism, most of the larger industries in the state went in reverse. And rising interest rates, inflation, high housing prices, and falling global commodity prices continue to shift the sands beneath the foundation of strong growth.

Join the Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research this summer for the 2023 Midyear Economic Update in seven Montana cities. In addition to an in-depth overview of Montana’s economy, the seminars will explore the adequacy of Montana’s electricity supply.

After decades of being a net exporter of electricity to neighboring states, Montana is becoming a state that imports power more often. On the days and hours when we do import power, we compete in a regional market with some very hungry mouths. States like California, in particular, import more than 25% of the power they use. A potential power crunch in our future puts economic growth in jeopardy, according to the BBER.

The Midyear Economic Update is 90 minutes long and includes breakfast, lunch or appetizers, depending on the city.

Register at

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Patrick Barkey, Director, BBER

Patrick Barkey has served as Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research since 2008. He has been involved with economic forecasting and policy research for more than 30 years, in both the private and public sectors. Before coming to Montana he served as Director of the Bureau of Business Research at Ball State University in Indiana for 14 years.

His recent research has been on the economic impact of energy development, the property tax treatment of the telecommunications industry and the economic impact of trade with Canada. He holds a B.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan.

Todd O'Hair, President and CEO, Montana Chamber of Commerce

As President and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce,

O'Hair works with over 2,000 business members representing every size, industry, and region in the state. A Montana native, Todd is from Livingston where his family owns a multi-generational family ranch. Before being named President and CEO of the Montana Chamber, Todd was the Senior Manager of Government Affairs for coal mining company, Cloud Peak Energy. While at Cloud Peak, he served on the Montana Chamber of Commerce board of directors and was the chair of the board in 2016-17.

Before Cloud Peak Energy, Todd worked in Gov. Judy Martz’s office for four years. He also served as the Natural Resources Policy Advisor for Congressman Rick Hill in Washington, D.C., and later as State Director.

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