The Billings Outpost

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Unemployment rate at 7.7 percent

HELENA - Montana’s unemployment rate hit 7.7 percent in July, moving up by 0.2 percent for the second straight month. The U.S. unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percent to 9.1 percent for the month.

“Despite the weather disasters, rising oil prices, and stock market scares, the private sector is still adding jobs,” said Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly. “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.”

Both the payroll and total employment estimates indicated job losses of about 900 in July on a seasonally adjusted basis.  Private sector payroll jobs increased by 2,600 jobs, while government employment decreased by about 3,500 jobs.

The seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.5 percent in July, with about half of the increase due to increases in gasoline prices.  The CPI-U increased by 3.6 percent over the last year.  The index for all items less food and energy (also called core inflation) increased by 0.2 percent for the second straight month.

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*Unemployment figures are seasonally-adjusted.  Seasonally-adjusted numbers remove the effects of events that follow a more or less regular month-to-month pattern each year. These adjustments make nonseasonal patterns easier to identify. The margin of error for the unemployment rate is plus or minus 1.0 percentage points at the 90 percent confidence level. All questions relating to the calculation of unemployment rates should be directed to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry’s Research and Analysis Bureau at 1-800-541-3904.

The August 2011 Labor Situation Report will be released on Friday, Sept. 16.

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