Montana’s unemployment rate hit 7.7% in July, moving up by 0.2% for the second straight month. Meanwhile, most counties in far eastern Montana saw a drop in rates. The U.S. unemployment rate also decreased by 0.1% to 9.1% for the month. State Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly explained that “Despite the weather disasters, rising oil prices, and stock market scares, the private sector is still adding jobs. But even with this job growth in the private sector; the economy is still struggling from the lingering financial crises and housing bubble crash as government continues to shed jobs.”
The seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.5% in July, with about half of the increase due to increases in gasoline prices. The CPI-U increased by 3.6% over the last year. The index for all items less food and energy (also called core inflation) increased by 0.2% for the second straight month. Those increases were also seen in eastern Montana, however much of the rise in prices is attributed to the boom economy as the energy rush escalates.
Statewide, Sanders county high of 14.8% was down from 15.0% in June and and Lincoln was down to 14.6% from 14.9%. Just 8 counties separate the high in the east from the statewide high. Last month 13 counties separated the two highs. Rosebud County for a third month in a row holds the high east at 10% even, up from 9.6% unemployment last month. Roosevelt is at 9.0%, down from 9.2% last month. month.
Statewide and in the east Fallon County still boasts the lowest unemployment in Montana. Fallon County is back down to 2.7% from 3.1% and McCone is a close second. They are down to 2.9% from 3.2%.
Here are the rates for the rest of eastern Montana Counties:
Carter County is up slightly to 3.9% from to 3.8%.
Custer County is down to 4.7% from 5.4%.
Daniels County is down to 4.8% from 5.4%.
Dawson County is down to 4.4% from 5.1%.
Garfield County is down to 4.8% from 5.1%.
Powder River County held at 5.3%.
Prairie County is down slightly for a second month to 4.9% from 5.0%.
Richland County down to 3.5% from 4.1%.
Sheridan County down to 3.8 from 4.6.
Treasure County down to 4.8% from 5.7%.
Valley County down to 5.5% from 5.7%.
Wibaux County went down to 3.5% from 3.8% unemployment.