Nearly 1,300 jobs were added to Montana's work force in the last month, but an increase in the number of people looking for work increased the unemployment rate by 0.2 percent to 6.3 percent, state officials said.
The national rate increased by 0.1 percent, ending at 8.2 percent for May.
The 1,300 job gain in May is the largest amount of jobs added in a month since before the recession. The last time Montana added more than 1,200 jobs in one month was January 2007, state officials said.
However, more job openings and better economic conditions have encouraged many people to enter the labor market, state officials said
It was that increase in the labor force that prompted an increase in the unemployment rate, state Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly said.
Lincoln County had the highest unemployment rate in the state with 13.2 percent. Sanders reported 12.8 percent and Big Horn had 11.6 percent. Fallon County ranked lowest with 2.2 percent, Carter County reported 2.7 percent and McCone County had 2.8 percent. Total employment estimates, which include payroll, self-employed, and agricultural workers, indicate job growth of 1,290 in May, a gain of 8,600 over the last year, state officials said.
Payroll employment estimates indicated even stronger job growth of 3,800 jobs, but the payroll employment estimates are fairly volatile on a month-to-month basis. Construction and Retail Trade both posted strong job gains over the month, state officials said.
The Big Sky Business Journal
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