Montana can expect about 4,000 new jobs in 2002, a 1 percent increase from last year, according to Regional Financial Associates Inc. (RFA), a Pennsylvania economic and forecasting company. That may not sound like much, but only Idaho and Florida are predicted to do as well. The Minneapolis Fed's forecast model for Montana also predicts an increase in jobs, though lower than the state's historical average.
Although slower than the 2 percent growth rates in 1999 and 2000, the job outlook here is better than RFA forecasts for some other states and nationally. For example, Hawaii may lose 2.7 percent of its jobs and Georgia, 1.3 percent. Nationally, jobs may decline by half a percent, contrary to last year's growth rate of 0.4 percent.
RFA also reported that Montana is one of only eight states that does not appear to have fallen into a recession along with the rest of the country. (The others are Alaska, Florida, Virginia, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.)