“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (2) – 5/28/20
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Montana’s tourism and restaurant businesses—broadly lumped into the hotels, restaurants, arts, entertainment and recreation businesses categories—took a massive 50 percent job loss hit in April. The data, released May 27, looked specifically at the state’s three major “metropolitan” areas: Billings, Great Falls and Missoula. The cities are considered economic bellwethers for the state. The Billings Gazette reports, “The report shows the beginning of a downturn unlike the Great Recession in which construction and timber products took the biggest early hit. The state’s unemployment rate was 10.5% on May 16.” The healthcare sector also saw a significant drop. “If you look at all those sectors, there’s a whole lot of minus signs there, but this particular decline is concentrated in retail trade and the tourist industry,” Paul Polzin, director emeritus at the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana, told the Gazette. With the state reopening as early as April 26, and moving into Phase 2 beginning on June 1, there is high hope for a better data reveal for the month of May.