State bounces over economic bumps

Montana State Roundup

Published January 1, 2004  | January 2004 issue

It turns out that Montana fared better than the national average in holding onto jobs over the past three years, and now its economy is rebounding nicely.

A recent national study by the AFL-CIO noted that economic conditions actually improved in Montana while the rest of the country felt the effects of a slowing economy. For example, from 2000 to 2002:

  • The percentage of Montanans living in poverty fell 0.6 percent, while across the country that figure increased 0.8 percent.
  • The percentage of residents with health coverage rose 3.2 percent. Nationally, 1.2 percent fewer people had health coverage.
  • Median household income in Montana rose 0.9 percent, while in the United States as a whole median household income fell 1.7 percent.

In addition, between January 2001 and last September, Montana's jobless rate rose only two-tenths of 1 percent, while the national unemployment rate rose from 4.1 percent to 6.1 percent.

Finally, the state Department of Labor and Industry indicated that October gains in construction, leisure and hospitality, education, and health care offset job losses in manufacturing and other sectors, generating a net increase of 900 jobs over the same month in 2002.

Phil Davies