HELENA – Montana’s unemployment rate dropped below the 6 percent mark in November, dipping 0.2 percentage points to 5.8 percent. The national rate also decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 7.7 percent.
“We are finishing 2012 with good economic news for workers during the holiday season,” said Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly. “There still is some uncertainty with federal spending levels and the national economic outlook, but Montana’s economy has gained momentum this year and our economic prospects for 2013 are strong. We continue to outperform the nation.”
Montana’s total employment, which includes payroll workers, the self-employed, and agricultural workers, increased by 522 jobs over the month on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Although payroll employment estimates indicated a 1,300 job decline over the month, these preliminary estimates are fairly volatile, and the three-month trend remains positive.
Over-the-month job losses of a thousand each occurred in the government and construction industries, with job gains in most other industries.
Even including the preliminary job losses posted this month, construction employment has gained over the last year, adding about 1,600 jobs.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) declined by 0.3 percent in November due to a 7.4 percent fall in the gasoline index.
The energy index dropped 4.1 percent, while the food index increased by 0.2 percent. Continued increases in food prices are expected due to widespread drought this year. Core inflation, measured by the all items less food and energy index, rose 0.1