OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today announced Montana’s unemployment rate was at 11.3 percent in April due to impacts created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Montana unemployment rate remains below the national rate of 14.7 percent in April.
“Montana took early and aggressive action to combat the virus and save lives, allowing us to be one of the first states in the nation prepared to reopen,” Governor Bullock said. “While we are not immune to the significant economic challenges facing the nation, we are working every day to safely reopen and ensure Montana stays on a path to long-term economic recovery. There is still a lot of work to do, and we are dedicated to maintaining a healthy workforce, while continuing to provide immediate economic relief for Montana families and businesses who are hurting.”
Montana’s unemployment rate for the month of April was captured on April 12 during the stay at home order. Total employment, which includes agricultural, payroll, and self-employed workers, decreased by 55,766 jobs in April. Since the unemployment rate was calculated in April, a significant number of Montanans are returning to work. Nearly 18,000 Montanans have already returned to work since the state began reopening.
DLI has issued $376 million in unemployment benefits since March 16 to ensure Montanans can continue to provide for their families during the emergency.
Montana was among the first states in the nation to begin processing claims for those who are self-employed. The Montana Department of Labor & Industry has worked diligently to process an unprecedented number of unemployment insurance claims and implement new programs issued by the federal government to provide an extra $600 a week benefit, to extend the length of time individuals can receive benefits, and offering unemployment insurance for self-employed and other individuals typically not eligible for benefits.
Leisure activities, which includes hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and other entertainment and recreation businesses, was the hardest hit, with losses approaching nearly half of their total employment and exceeding 32,000 jobs. All industries posted losses except the federal government.
The most up-to-date claims and economic information, including county impacts, can be found at DLI’s job tracking website at lmi.mt.gov/home/job-tracking.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) fell 0.8% in April, with the sharpest decrease in gasoline prices. Prices for apparel, airline fares, lodging away from home, and vehicle insurance also contributed to the decline. The index for all items less food and energy, also called core inflation, fell by 0.4%.