Montana's economy continued to post strong job growth in March, adding 2,431 jobs. The unemployment rate held steady over the month at 5.1% due to growth in the labor force as more and more Montanans enter the job market. The U.S. unemployment rate remained flat over the month at 6.7 percent.
"This year has brought strong job growth for Montana's workers and businesses, with 7,450 jobs added in the first quarter," Governor Steve Bullock said. "My administration works every day with both employees and employers to ensure vigorous growth job continues throughout 2014, and that work is paying off in the job market and in the economy as a whole"
"Stronger job growth has brought more workers into our labor force, which is a positive sign for our employers who are looking for workers," said Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy. "The Department of Labor and Industry will continue to work to get these workers into appropriate jobs as quickly as possible."
March posted sizable gains in both employment and the labor force. Total employment, which includes payroll employment plus agricultural and self-employed workers, added 2,431 jobs in March to bring the total first quarter job growth to 7,450. The labor force increased 2,450 workers, keeping the unemployment rate steady for the month. Payroll employment estimates signal smaller job growth of 300 jobs, with manufacturing and health care posting the largest job gains at 400 jobs each. Differences between payroll and total job growth estimates are not unusual.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in March with due to price increases in food and shelter. Energy prices receded with a fall in gasoline prices. Core inflation, measured by the all items less food and energy index, rose by 0.2 percent.