HELENA – Montana’s unemployment rate continued to move downward in October, dipping 0.1 percent to 6 percent. The national rate increased by 0.1 percent in October following a large drop last month.

This month’s job gain is the strongest since the end of the recession in 2009, according to Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly.

“Montana continued to add jobs over the last month, putting 1,500 more Montanans back to work,” Kelly said. “Montana’s economy is picking up steam.”

Montana’s total employment increased by 1,527 jobs over the month on a seasonally adjusted basis, compared to an average monthly gain of 708 jobs per month over the last year. Total employment includes both payroll workers, plus agricultural and self-employed workers. Payroll employment estimates indicated an increase of 2,800 jobs, with a gain of 2,000 jobs in the private sector. Private sector job gains were greatest in the Professional and Business Services industry and in Leisure and Hospitality.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased by 0.1 percent in October, with a slight decline in the energy index. The food index increased by 0.2 percent. Core inflation, measured by the all items less food and energy index, rose 0.2 percent largely because of an increase in the shelter index. The 0.3 percent rise in the shelter index is the largest since March 2008 and provides further evidence of a recovery in home and rental prices.