Montana's unemployment rate held steady at 5.2 percent in November. The state's rate has declined by half a percent over the last year. The national unemployment rate remains higher than Montana's rate at 7.0 percent in November, down 0.3 percentage points from the prior month.
"Montana's economy continues to perform better than the rest of the nation, steadily adding jobs for our workers," Governor Steve Bullock said. "Strong retail sales during this holiday season will help our economy gain momentum for the next year."
"Retailers hired more workers this holiday season than in prior years, which suggests greater confidence in our stronger economy," said Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy.
Total employment, which includes payroll employment plus agricultural and self-employed workers, added 856 jobs in November. Although employment continues to expand in Montana during 2013, the job growth rate of
0.4 percent this year is slower than the above-average job growth of 2.2 percent during 2012.
Payroll employment indicate that job growth in the private sector was much stronger than growth
overall. Private payroll employment increased by 1,400 jobs over the month, with broad-based gains over all sectors. Seasonal hiring in the retail sector is larger than prior years, suggesting retailers are expecting a stronger holiday sales season. Job losses in government offset the private sector job gains, with a loss of 700 jobs over the month in state and local government. All payroll jobs (both private and public) increased by 700 jobs since October.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was unchanged in November. Energy prices declined, which offset increases in the food index. Core inflation, measured by the all items less food and energy index, rose by 0.2 percent in November, keeping inflation below historic levels.