State unemployment rate drops to 7.1 percent

by Hungry Horse News
| July 22, 2020 7:26 AM

Montana’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.1 percent in June after the state and national parks reopened to tourists.

Total employment, which includes both payroll workers and the self-employed, increased by 20,992 over the month, setting a record for the most jobs gained in any single month since the data series began in 1976. Total employment has added over 39,000 jobs in the last two months, but employment levels remain roughly 21,000 jobs (4%) below the pre-COVID-19 recession peak, Gov. Steve Bullock’s office reported.

Payroll employment posted gains of 16,100 jobs over the month, with the leisure and hospitality sector leading gains by adding 5,800 jobs over the month. Healthcare and retail trade also added over 2,000 jobs each. Montana has added roughly 35,000 payroll jobs since April.

Prices rebounded in June, with the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increasing by 0.6% after three months of price declines. Gasoline prices were the primary cause of inflation, increasing by 12.3% over the month. Still, gas prices remain historically low, at about $2.25 a gallon.

The index for all items less food and energy, also called core inflation, rose by 0.2%, remaining far below inflation targets. Low inflation suggests continued monetary and fiscal policy would not have adverse effects on prices, the governor’s office said.