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Governor Says Montana Jobs Bouncing Back, Economists Say It's Still Early

The novel coronavirus
The novel coronavirus

Montana’s governor says the state’s employment rate is in a healthier place compared to many other states after the coronavirus pandemic led to government mandated business closures earlier this year.

Some economists say it’s too soon to draw conclusions.

Governor Steve Bullock says Montana Department of Labor and Industry data show that the state has the sixth fastest job bounce back in the country.

“Montana continues to outperform the national economy and many other states in recovery from the pandemic, and we know that the shorter duration of our stay at home order helped us to moderate economic losses and [led] to the quicker economic recovery," Bullock said.

Data also suggest Montana’s seasonally adjusted job loss between February and April is smaller than other states at 11.6 percent compared to a national 16 percent drop.

Other Mountain states like Idaho and Wyoming also show more moderate job losses compared to coastal states like California, New York and Florida, which top the list of biggest job losses.

University of Montana Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research Patrick Barkey says he doesn’t see Montana’s employment rate as especially remarkable in comparison to other states.

“It’s not that heartening when everyone in the class is flunking," Barkey said.

He says preliminary data can change drastically, and he’s waiting to see how the pandemic’s effect on the economy pans out.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.