Montana’s unemployment rate continued its decline in December, down 0.1 percentage points to 4.2 percent.  The unemployment rate has decreased by over a full percentage point during 2014.  The U.S. unemployment rate declined to 5.6 percent.  The U.S. unemployment rate remains over a point above Montana’s rate, but has also decreased by over a full percentage point over the year.

“Montana finished 2014 with more employment growth, which will likely put the year into the history books as one of the strongest years for our economy,” Governor Steve Bullock said, “With our state’s strong economy, I remain committed to building on that strength to ensure that all Montanans feel the benefits of this growing prosperity.”

Montana’s total employment levels increased by 829 jobs over the last month, with 12,663 jobs added since last December.  These preliminary numbers indicate strong job growth of 2.6 percent in 2014, placing the year in the top quartile for employment growth since 1980.  Total employment estimates include payroll employment, plus agricultural and self-employed workers.  Payroll employment estimates indicate a gain of 3,100 jobs over the month, with large gains in the construction industry.