HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A preliminary economic analysis shows that the Montana economy is expected to suffer an average job loss of about 7% or 51,000 jobs and could take years to recover from a decline caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The report says the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana conducted its analysis to predict the overall state economy, which might hit pre-virus projections sometime in 2021 and 2022.

Economist and bureau director Patrick Barkey says the study was done with the understanding that projections could change as the virus does.

The report also predicts that nearly every major industry in the state will have lower employment.

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