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Montana’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.4 Percent, Back to Pre- Recession Levels

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Montana’s unemployment rate has seen a steady decline this year, moving from 5.7 percent in January to the recently announced 5.4 percent rate for the month of May.

Although that unemployment number has been going down steadily, Montana Senior Economist Barbara Wagner says the decline over the past two months has been significantly different than the results from the start of the year.

“The First quarter of the year, January, February, March, we didn’t do very well” Wagner said. “We had some employment losses, small ones, but not huge. The unemployment rate continued to drop at that time, but that’s related to the labor force, which is really the number of people looking for work. In the last two months we have had job growth again, we’re about even for the year. Both of our data series that estimate employment show some good job gains over the last two months.”

The may numbers also have some positive news related to the last recession.

“This is really great news,” Wagner said. “According to our payroll employment, we’re actually above the peak employment level prior to the recession. So, as of this month, we’ve regained all of our jobs.”

Total employment increased by 1,740 over the month of May, the largest monthly job increase of 2013.

Senior Economist for the Department of Labor and Industry Barbara Wagner

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