Montana Unemployment Rate at Four Percent, State Fears Worker Shortage
Today, January 26, the Montana Department of Labor and Industry announced that Montana continued to hover at four percent unemployment during the last month of 2015. According to senior economist Barbara Wagner, that static rate is really good news.
"We obviously don't like higher unemployment rates because people are out of jobs. We hate people having to be unemployed, but also if the rate gets too low, it gets harder for businesses to find workers. If there's not any workers to produce a product than they businesses can't produce as much and our GDP doesn't grow as well."
Wagner says that in the next ten years, the unemployment rate could dip down to two percent as the state’s aging population leaves the work force and there are fewer younger workers to take jobs.
"We produce both job forecasts and labor market forecasts here at the Department of Labor and we are projecting, very very tight labor markets within the next ten years. It won't be an immediate thing, it is probably going to be another five years to really get to the situation where it's going to be hard to find bodies to fill positions."
Wages are expected to go up as the labor shortage intensifies, they have a long way to go, as Montana has among the ten lowest average wages in the nation.