Montana’s unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a percent during December to 4.2 percent and capped off a year of job growth that clocked in at 2.5 percent. That may not sound like much, but according to Montana Department of Labor and Industry Chief Economist Barbara Wagner it was one of Montana’s best years on record.

"Our average growth rate is about one percent so we are significantly faster than average and it should turn out to be one of our best years for the state," Wagner said. "Since last December we have added more than 12,600 jobs. There have been very few years that we've added more.

Economists have kept consistent job records in Montana going back to 1980, within that time, only two years outperformed 2014.

"We did add more than that in 2006 and we added more than that in 1994, but not a lot more, we are talking about being within a few hundred jobs," Wagner said. "[2014] is one of the best years we've had in the state and its really nice to see such a strong job recovery."

Both the Montana and National Unemployment rates dropped in December, but Montana’s rate is still more than a full point lower than the National average.