Recent employment figures suggest that the tide of job losses may be turning in the state, earlier than in the nation as a whole. In April Montana’s unemployment rate was 6 percent, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the U.S. Department of Labor. That’s down from the March rate of 6.1 percent, and the first decline since December 2007.
The numbers indicate that Montana is doing better on the jobs front than the rest of the country. The U.S. nonfarm unemployment rate rose in April to 8.9 percent, nearly one-third higher than Montana’s rate. An increase in payroll, the first since last August, was additional cause for optimism; Montana tied with Arkansas for the largest month-over-month gain in nonfarm jobs at 1,500.
However, some Montana counties still struggle with joblessness. The nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Lincoln County, in the state’s northwest corner, was 14.7 percent in April.