As Montana continues to climb out of the COVID 19 pandemic, the state’s economy is improving, in that the unemployment rate has dropped from 4.6 to 4.4 percent in December.

Public Information Officer Lauren Lewis with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry provided the numbers on Wednesday.

“The unemployment rate in Montana declined to 4.4% in December,” said Lewis. “That's down from 4.6% in November. In Montana, the rate remains lower than the national rate of 6.7%. In December, payroll employment added 400 jobs in the last month with job gains in construction, retail trade, and healthcare.”

In addition, Lewis warned of a text messaging scam being perpetrated on Montanans who collect unemployment insurance payments.

“DLI (The Department of Labor and Industry) is warning Montanans of a pretty widespread text message scam from folks that are pretending that it's a message from the department,” she said. “So we're really trying to warn all Montanans and not just those with active claims to be aware of these fraudulent text messages at this time. We believe that these scammers are sending these fraudulent texts to phone numbers within the 406 area code in the hopes that one is the current Unemployment Insurance claimant.”

Lewis described the scam.

“The text basically is a fraudulent notice that they have an error on their unemployment claims, and they're asking people to click a link that may install malware on their devices,” she said. So, we really are just warning folks not to click on this link. Don't respond to the number, and if they do receive this text to report it to us immediately either online or give us a call at our fraud hotline at 1-406-444-0072.”


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