The unemployment rate in Montana remained steady in June at 5.4%. State Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy said on Friday Montana is doing well, compared to the rest of the country.

"We had a great first quarter, added a whole lot of jobs especially in the private sector," Bucy said. "But, at the same time, the public sector is shedding jobs at a rapid rate, so it's been somewhat of a wash this quarter."

The shedding of government jobs, Bucy said, is not uncommon in times of recession recovery.

"In my agency, the Department of Labor, the unemployment rates skyrocketed during the recession, and we added dozens of temporary staff members to handle all those claims," Bucy said. "We added jobs at the Department of Health and Human Services, and we added through-the-roof numbers at our Job Service offices throughout the state with folks looking for work. So, during times of recession, government responds by adding staff to meet needs of the people, however, with sequestration, the public sector is shedding jobs as rapidly as the private sector is adding them."

Bucy said all aspects of Montana's private sector added jobs.

"In the first quarter, every sector had added jobs," she said. "Manufacturing, retail, agriculture, and especially the natural resource sector had the most rapid growth, but in the first quarter we even saw growth in construction all across the state, which is great news, because that is the one sector that hasn't returned to its pre-recession rate.

Bucy said she has found optimism in her visits with people around the state.

"I've been traveling around with Governor Bullock, doing our round-table discussions all over Montana, and people are optimistic. They are optimistic about the economy of Montana."

State Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy

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