Bureau of Business and Economic Research

Apps on an iPhone, October 20, 2010.
Daniel Go/Flickr (CC-by-2.0)

High tech is one of the fastest-growing and highest-paying sectors in Montana’s economy, but it’s not without its hurdles. An organization helping new tech startups is wrapping up its second annual pitch competition this week. One of the founders of Sellout, a new Bozeman-based tech company and one of the winners last year, shared some of the opportunities and challenges that come with starting a tech business in Montana.

For the past two decades, Montanans have been making more money, creating more jobs and  increasing investment and retirement income in the state. What’s the cause for all this growth? Ray Rasker of Headwaters Economics Research says it has to do with the best asset in the last best state: public lands.

"Rural counties around the West that have a lot of federal land have faster growth in population, faster growth in employment, and faster growth in personal income," Rasker says.

The largest and longest-running trade dispute between the U.S. and Canada may be coming to a head on Tuesday.

It could cause a big pinch for our neighbors to the north and it’s likely to drive up the cost of lumber for homebuilders and consumers in the U.S. But it could be a positive for Montana timber mills.

“It would put a little more light at the end of the tunnel for all of us," Gordy Sanders, a resource manager with Pyramid Mountain Lumber in Seeley Lake, says.