New numbers show that Montana's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 5.7% in December.The drop represents a 0.1% change from December and is a good indicator that Montana is recovering from the recession.

Considering that the national unemployment rate is at 7.8%, Montana's position looks strong.

"We're seeing widespread growth across the full economy," says Montana Department of Labor and Industry Senior Economist Barbara Wagner. "Some of the big employing industries, retail and particularly construction, have come back stronger in this year and those industries have the ability to add a lot of jobs. Also, healthcare, but healthcare has been strong throughout the recession and continues to grow."

Barbara Wagner:

Even many counties with relatively high unemployment have seen year to year declines. For example, Ravalli county had a 9.5% seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate last December and is now down 8.2%

Urban areas like Missoula are faring better than their rural counterparts. Missoula's unemployment rate in December was pegged at 5.6% slightly lower than the state average.

When it comes to inflation, the Consumer Price Index held fairly steady between November and December, balanced between decreasing fuel prices and rising food prices. Core inflation across the board rose 0.1%.