“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (2) – 5/22/20
The numbers are in: Montana’s unemployment rate hit 11.3 percent in April due to COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns, Gov. Steve Bullock announced on May 22. The figure, while significantly higher than the 4.2 percent unemployment seen in February, is still under the national average of 14.7. According to KPAX, in Montana, “Total employment, which includes agricultural, payroll, and self-employed workers, decreased by 55,766 jobs in April.” Fortunately, at least 18,000 Montanans have returned to work since the state began reopening. Yet the burden, financially speaking, remains immense—since March 16, Montana has doled out $376 million in unemployment insurance payments, the Department of Labor and Industry also reported. The DLI noted that leisure activities, which include hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and other entertainment and recreation businesses, losing nearly half of their employment, or some 32,000 jobs.